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Meta’s Horizon Worlds VR platform is reportedly struggling to keep users

Meta’s Horizon Worlds VR platform is reportedly struggling to keep users


According to internal documents, Meta’s lowering its goal of reaching 500,000 monthly active Horizon Worlds users by the end of the year to just 280,000

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Mark Zuckerberg’s avatar with legs in Horizon Worlds
Image: Meta

Horizon Worlds, Meta’s social universe set in virtual reality (VR), is reportedly struggling to gain and keep users. According to internal documents obtained by the Wall Street Journal, Horizon Worlds currently has around 200,000 monthly active users, a dip from the 300,000-user milestone Meta confirmed it hit back in February.

Horizon Worlds lets users create (or visit) spaces where they can hang out, play games, meet other people, and chat with friends. The platform’s userbase actually increased tenfold following its expansion to all Quest users in the US and Canada last December, something the popularity of Meta’s Quest 2 headset during last year’s holiday shopping season likely contributed to as well.

But now it looks like Meta’s adjusting its expectations. According to the WSJ, Meta’s aiming to reach 280,000 monthly active Horizon Worlds users by the end of this year instead of its initial goal of 500,000. And while the company said it had around 10,000 separate worlds as of February, the WSJ reports that only about nine percent of these virtual venues are visited by more than 50 users, and that most users don’t return after one month of using the platform.

In a statement to the WSJ, a Meta spokesperson said the company’s metaverse plans are a multiyear effort, and that it’s continually making improvements. Meta didn’t immediately respond to The Verge’s request for comment.

Earlier this month, The Verge’s Alex Heath reported that the team behind Horizon Worlds is contending with a number of quality issues affecting the platform. In one memo, Meta’s VP of metaverse, Vishal Shah said the team is going on a “quality lockdown” until the end of 2022 to pause the rollout of new features and address the platform’s bugginess.

“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,” Shah wrote to employees, while also questioning why staffers aren’t using the platform all that much themselves. Meta later rolled out a new tool that’s supposed to make it easier to report bugs from its Horizon Worlds app, and even admitted in a blog post that the platform was “unstable” during a competition it recently held in the app.

At the company’s Connect event on Tuesday, Meta revealed the $1,499 Quest Pro VR headset marketed towards companies that want to collaborate in VR. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg also announced that legs are coming to avatars in Horizon Worlds, and showed off what this might look like during the presentation. It remains unclear whether they’ll actually look like that when they arrive in Horizon Worlds, as a Meta spokesperson told UploadVR editor Ian Hamilton that this is only a “preview of what’s to come,” and that the demonstration didn’t even take place in live VR.