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Even Meta’s Employees Aren’t Using Horizon Worlds

“Come on in, the VR is lovely…”

One could claim that the team who created Horizon worlds may be suffering from ‘too much of a good thing’, but reading between the lines (and applying a little common sense) would suggest that after putting it together and making it ‘work’, it appears that Meta’s own employees are in no hurry to go back into the virtual world they’ve created.

And the evidence is there in black and white as tranche of internal memos have fallen into the hands of The Verge revealing the inner turmoil behind the rushed, straight-faced rollout of the platform that Meta and CEO Mark Zuckerberg hope will be the vanguard of their big play for the metaverse.

However, besides cursory examinations and acknowldegement that the service exists, even VR pioneers who DO own one of Meta’s VR headsets are yet to start living (and more importantly spending) en masse there. And – it appears – that includes Meta’s own employees, who, after creating the ‘perfect place to live and work on line’ have taken off their goggles and prefer to do it old skool instead.

The goal of getting Jane Facebook-User or Joe Ordinary-Gamer on board (and thereby turning Meta’s tanker-sized big spend around) now seems more out of reach than ever.

Why don’t you love me? [sob]

And it’s a situation that Meta’s VP of Metaverse, Vishal Shah is now finally addressing. In a memo to employees dated September 15th he said that the Horizon team would remain in a “quality lockdown” for the rest of the year to “ensure that we fix our quality gaps and performance issues before we open up Horizon to more users.”

Earlier Shah had admitted, “Since launching late last year, we have seen that the core thesis of Horizon Worlds — a synchronous social network where creators can build engaging worlds — is strong. But currently feedback from our creators, users, playtesters, and many of us on the team is that the aggregate weight of papercuts, stability issues, and bugs is making it too hard for our community to experience the magic of Horizon. Simply put, for an experience to become delightful and retentive, it must first be usable and well crafted.”

Going in deeper Shah suggests that, “our onboarding experience is confusing and frustrating for users” and that the team needed to “introduce new users to top-notch worlds that will ensure their first visit is a success.”

Big Meta is watching…

But perhaps the most damning indictment as to the team’s creation is that the even the Meta team who made it aren’t using it to do all the things… that they expect end users to do.

“For many of us, we don’t spend that much time in Horizon and our dogfooding dashboards show this pretty clearly,” he wrote on September 15th. “Why is that? Why don’t we love the product we’ve built so much that we use it all the time? The simple truth is, if we don’t love it, how can we expect our users to love it?”

Inevitably, having access to the stats, prompts Shah to take action. On September 30th, he writes that a plan was being made to “hold managers accountable” for having their teams use Horizon at least once a week. “Everyone in this organization should make it their mission to fall in love with Horizon Worlds. You can’t do that without using it. Get in there. Organize times to do it with your colleagues or friends, in both internal builds but also the public build so you can interact with our community.”

Very good. If you people don’t like something you an always “hold them accountable” and tell them “to fall in love with Horizon Worlds.”

It’s to be hoped that Meta’s next event – the annual Connect conference – will give Horizon’s potential audience a real reason to step on board. And hopefully the team that made might follow along too.

Written By

Daniel Griffiths is a veteran journalist who has worked on some of the world's biggest entertainment, home and tech media brands. He's reviewed all the greats, interviewed countless big names, and reported on thousands of releases in the fields of video games, music, movies, tech, gadgets, home improvement, self build, interiors, garden design and more. He’s the ex-Editor of PSM3, GamesMaster, Future Music and ex-Group Editor-in-Chief of Electronic Musician, Guitarist, Guitar World, Computer Music and more. He renovates property and writes fun things for great websites.

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