Facebook, since rebranding itself to Meta, has been spending a lot of time and money to focus on their new venture – the Metaverse. One such high profile technology is their social VR platform for the Quest headset known as Horizon Worlds. It rolled out in early December for users in US and Canada but in less than three months it has gained 300,000 users and has grown its monthly user base by a 10x rate.
Before its December rollout, Horizon Worlds was in a private beta for creators to test its world-building tools. Similarly to how the gaming platform Roblox or Microsoft’s Minecraft works, Horizon Worlds lets people build custom environments to hang out and play games in as legless avatars.
For those unaware, Horizon Worlds allows creators and players to create worlds, much like what’s already possible in Roblox or in Minecraft. It lets people build engaging environments and use various tools to play games, communicate, and in general, have fun. Meta also announced that it has more than 10,000 worlds created by the community, and that it has more than 20,000 creators in a private Facebook group.
Meta hasn’t shared how many Quest headsets it sold to this date, and it’s hard to estimate how big the platform will grow in the coming months and years, but it’s clear that it appears to be very popular among existing Meta Quest VR headset users. It’s also important to note that Meta doesn’t make any money through Horizon Worlds yet, but it’s expected to include in-app purchases and other means for users to take advantage of new worlds and tools, although this is just speculation at this point.
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.