Rebranding their entire operation as Meta didn’t only denote that Facebook has bet its future on virtual and augmented reality, but it also shows that the company is ready to splash billions of dollars in order to build the necessary hardware and software that extends beyond typical social media.
Meta has been sharing its metaverse progress with the public and currently the company’s highest-profile bet is Horizon Worlds, a social VR platform for the Quest headset. It was featured in Meta’s Super Bowl ad and company CEO Mark Zuckerberg called it “core to our metaverse vision” on Meta’s recent earnings call.
Now we can gauge just how successful they’ve been for the very first time as during Meta’s last virtual all-hands, Chris Cox, the company’s chief product officer gave employees a previously unreported update on the growth of Horizon Worlds.
Cox said that Horizon Worlds was rolled out to every Quest user in the US and Canada in December and its monthly user base has ever since grown by a factor of 10x to 300,000 users.
Additionally, Meta spokesperson Joe Osborne confirmed the stat and said it included users of Horizon Worlds and Horizon Venues, a separate app for attending live events in VR that uses the same avatars and basic mechanics.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently stated in the company’s last earnings call that Meta would release a version of Horizon for mobile phones later this year and “bring early metaverse experiences to more surfaces beyond VR. So while the deepest and most immersive experiences are going to be in virtual reality, you’re also going to be able to access the worlds from your Facebook or Instagram apps as well, and probably more over time.”
Meta also announced earlier this month that 10,000 separate worlds have been built in Horizon Worlds to date.
By bringing Horizon Worlds to mobile, it will be competing against the likes of Rec Room, a social gaming app that’s well-funded and has garnered more than 37 million monthly users on various platforms including consoles, mobile devices and VR.
Horizon Worlds allows people to build custom environments where they can hang out and play games. Since the platform has only been available for a few months, it’s too early to tell if Horizon Worlds will be the smash that Zuckerberg would like, but these first figures are certainly encouraging.