Metaverse flagship app Horizon Worlds is struggling to attract new users, the Wall Street Journal reported Saturday. The publication, which reviewed internal documents, revealed that Meta originally targeted 500,000 monthly active users by the end of the year, later revising the target to 280,000. The current number is now under 200,000, according to the report. Horizon Worlds is a free virtual reality app developed by Meta.
Horizon World’s user base has steadily declined since spring. In fact, most users don’t return after the first month. Meta wanted users to build their own worlds, but that number is below 1 percent. Only 9 percent of worlds are visited by at least 50 people, and most are never visited at all, the WSJ report claims. “An empty world is a sad world,” says an internal document. What also worries Meta is that retention rates for the Quest VR headset have dropped in each of the last three years. Shockingly, more than half of headsets are no longer used after six months.
The company has reportedly put Horizons on a “quality lock,” meaning the app won’t get any new features. Meta will only focus on bugs and complaints for now.
The report comes at a time when Meta’s shares have taken a nosedive. Meta shares are down over 60 percent over the past year. The Silicon Valley major has lost $700 billion in market value since September 2021.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced a year ago that he was backing the metaverse. In fact, the company changed its name to Meta to show where the social media giant is headed going forward. So far, it seems that the company’s investment in creating the Metaverse, which is essentially a virtual world for users to play and work together, is a bad idea.
Meta is popularly known for creating the social media we know today. The tech giant is behind Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, the most popular mobile apps that serve billions of users monthly. But in recent years, Meta has not only faced intense competition from TikTok, but also scrutiny from regulators.
Last week, Meta announced a $1500 Quest Pro headset for business. It’s the most advanced mixed reality headset Meta has created.