Facebook rebranded itself as Meta in order to fully embrace virtual reality via the Oculus platform, so how is that actually going? The company reportedly told employees that its primary social VR platform for the Oculus Quest headset, Horizon Worlds, has grown ten times to since December, according to The Verge.
Meta’s chief product officer Chris Cox said that since Horizon Worlds was rolled out widely in early December in the US and Canada, its monthly user count has expanded to 300,000 people. That includes both Horizon Worlds and Horizon Venues, a separate live event VR app with the same mechanics, a company spokesperson confirmed. It doesn’t include the VR conferencing app Horizon Workrooms, however.
Horizon Worlds was first launched as an Oculus social platform called Facebook Horizon back in 2019, and launched into beta later on. Users appear as avatars with an upper body only, and can build their own custom worlds. Earlier this week, Meta announced that 10,000 of those worlds have been built so far and its Facebook group for creators numbers over 20,000.
The company seems intent on avoiding issues like harassment rampant in Facebook, having introduced “personal boundaries” to Horizon Worlds and Venues earlier this month. It’s also dealing with technical issues as some users couldn’t access Horizon Venues during a virtual Foo Fighters concert.
Still, growth so far seems solid, given that access to the site currently requires an Oculus Quest headset, with the latest Quest 2 model priced at $299. However, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that Meta planned to bring a version of Horizon Worlds to mobile phones later in 2022 in a bid to expand the user base. Depending on how well that works, it could provide a big boost to membership.
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