Almost a year after Facebook’s surprise rebranding as Meta, the company’s flagship Metaverse product is said to be failing to meet internal standards.
According to a Wall Street Journal report, internal Meta documents paint a bleak picture for Horizon Worlds, the face of Meta’s risky Metaverse bet.
User base troubles
Acquisition and retention of user base remains a troubling metric for Meta, so much that the company has slashed its year-end monthly active users (MAU) goal by almost half. The initial MAU goal set by Meta was 500,000 by December 2022. That number was recently brought down to 280,000. As per the company’s estimation, the current MAU is struggling to cross 200,000.
Documents, which include internal memos from Meta employees, show that a majority of Horizon World’s users don’t return to the platform after the first month. Statistics from these internal documents also reveal that most of the worlds built by creators in Horizon Worlds are never visited. Only 9% of the worlds manage to attract a minimum of 50 people.
One internal memo read, “An empty world is a sad world,” pointing towards the worrying lack of visitors on the platform.
When Meta researchers set out to conduct a survey of Horizon World users to try and understand the reason for its low user base, they could only manage to gather 514 people for their survey pool.
This “small and precious pool,” as described by the researchers, revealed that there is a lack of likeable Metaverse worlds on the platform. Additionally, it has been tough to find people in the game. And, the ones who were found were either unrealistic or did not have legs.
Here, it’s worth pointing out that a spokesperson for Meta claimed that the company’s Metaverse venture was never intended to be a short-term project. In fact, the company is ready for a multi-year commitment on that front, he reiterated.
On the subject of criticism of the Metaverse, the spokesperson said that Meta is confident about the Metaverse’s role in the future of computing. This, despite the cynicism around it.
Increasing competition, decreasing share price
Meta is not the only company that is exploring the Metaverse. Microsoft and Apple are also working on similar projects. However, Meta’s competition is not limited to this venture.
The company’s core business is facing competition from the likes of TikTok and Youtube, with both companies rolling out features that aim to attract creators.
Meanwhile, the performance of Meta’s share price is doing little to ease investors who are likely anxious about the company’s Metaverse expansion.
Meta’s stock has declined by over 60% so far this year with the company losing over $700 billion in market value since its peak in September 2021. At the time of writing, it was trading at $126.35.