Horizon Worlds, the VR social network carrying the banner (or burden) of being Meta Platforms’ (Nasdaq: META) flagship metaverse app, has a user problem. And it might be so bad that Meta employees don’t care enough to use it, according to leaked internal memos read by The Verge last week.
“For many of us, we don’t spend that much time in Horizon and our dogfooding dashboards show this pretty clearly,” Vishal Shah, Meta’s VP of Metaverse, wrote in a memo 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?”
It’s understandable why Shah sounds frustrated. The multiplayer platform, which lets users build their assets and interact in virtual worlds as avatars, is a key initiative in CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s rebranding of the company from Facebook to Meta. And the company is pouring billions per year, assigning thousands of employees to its development, all to make Zuckerberg’s vision a (virtual) reality.
In December, Meta rolled out the platform on the company’s Oculus Quest VR headset. They were supposed to offer the app on mobile and desktop through a web version soon after they announced that they hit 300,000 users earlier in the year, but the memos suggest that there’s still a long way ahead for new releases.
“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,” Shah wrote. “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.”
Shah also wrote that for the rest of the year, the team would stay in a “quality lockdown,” which would “ensure that we fix our quality gaps and performance issues before we open up Horizon to more users.”
While The Verge’s report didn’t specify the bugs and issues of the platform, it pointed out problems in Horizon’s onboarding process, saying it’s “confusing and frustrating for users.”
When Zuckerberg posted a screenshot of his metaverse avatar to celebrate the launch of Horizon in France and Spain, many mocked and criticized the Meta CEO, pointing out the depressingly outdated-looking graphics. Zuckerberg responded with an updated version and teased that major updates and avatar graphics would be “coming soon,” and more will be discussed at Meta’s annual Connect conference on Tuesday, October 11.
At Connect, the company is expected to also launch a new VR headset, along with new features and updates to Horizon. A lot is riding on the already-beleaguered platform, as Meta tries desperately to recoup its losses and recapture the hordes of younger audiences it’s losing to Tiktok.
Meta last traded at $133.79 on the Nasdaq.
Information for this briefing was found via The Verge. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.