It’s almost a year to the day that Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would rebrand itself under the new name of Meta and ushered in a new age of metaverse-heavy focus that’s upended the company’s fortunes.
Zuckerberg’s message was clear, the metaverse has the potential to rule all social media and even bring an end to physical workplaces and Zoom meetings co-workers could jump into the metaverse to discuss the day ahead.
However, it would seem the dream of this flourishing social, virtual world is moving further out of reach as documents given to The Wall Street Journal show that flagship metaverse platform Horizon Worlds is falling way short of projected targets.
A serious downgrade in ambition
Meta had originally set Horizon Worlds a goal of reaching 500,000 monthly active users by the end of the year but this bar has been seriously reset in recent weeks. Internally a revised figure of 280,000 has been put in place, and while this new goal may be far more achievable the documents reveal that the current number of users currently sits at under 200,000…
What’s gone wrong with Horizon Worlds?
Part of what will make a successful metaverse is not only having users, but having users that choose to come back day in, day out. The WSJ’s documents – which include internal memos from employees – state that most visitors take a short trip down the Horizon Worlds adventure lane, only to abandon the app after the first month. And that user base has been steadily declining since spring.
According to internal statistics, only 9% of the worlds built by creators are visited by at least 50 people, and most of these worlds are never visited at all.
Meta’s flagship metaverse app has been said to suffer from far too many quality issues; stability problems and bugs make the experience frustrating rather than fun and users are yet to be impressed by the visuals of the world or their strangely legless avatars…
Users have also reported that they struggle to find worlds they like and have also found it difficult to find other users to interact with, which, in a world focused on social interaction, presents a problem.
In fact leaked internal Meta documents recently observed that even Meta employees and the folks actually in charge of building out Horizon Worlds internally are using the platform less and less.
Meta has always intended on making the metaverse a long-term project, quality improvements are said to be on the horizon as is a web version for mobile and PC. Will these changes be enough to entice users? or will Horizon Worlds remain a lonely one?