There is no such thing as a metaverse. The vision of a virtual cyberspace where we meet, communicate, play and shop goes by many names. Meta boss Mark Zuckerberg calls his Metaverse Horizon Worlds. And they don’t live up to their expectations.
Facebook founder and Meta boss Mark Zuckerberg had aimed for 500,000 monthly users by the end of the year. That’s the number of people who should be hanging out in Horizon Worlds, the meta variant of the Metaverse. However, as the “Wall Street Journal” reports, citing internal documents, Horizon Worlds is a long way from this goal with nearly ten weeks to go before the end of the year. According to the newspaper, only 200,000 people have dived into the meta world since the spring.
Once and never again
The picture becomes even more disastrous when you look at the details: the number of users has dropped continuously since the spring, and many users have never visited Horizon Worlds since their first visit. The operators of the individual worlds in Horizon Worlds also suffered from this lack of encouragement. Only nine percent of all virtual packages have counted more than 50 guests to date, most of them not one.
While the barriers to entry for Horizon Worlds are extremely low at first glance – download free software and create an account – the wow experience promised by Zuckerberg only occurs if the user wears VR goggles. However, a cheap Google Cardboard to which you connect your smartphone is not enough. Until now, the software for Horizon Worlds is only available for computers, meta VR glasses are required.
A few days ago Meta introduced the new Quest Pro. The high-tech device is widely praised for its high quality, but it has two pitfalls: first, the good $1,500 piece is anything but cheap, and second, Meta has completely stopped selling its Quest VR goggles, at least in Germany. as they require a Facebook account for full functionality. The Federal Cartel Office has a problem with this (we reported).
However, the unavailability of the Quest goggles in Germany is only a minor problem for the Horizon Worlds project. Because even for users who already have a quest, things don’t go smoothly – the comment columns on the Horizon Worlds download page are overflowing with reports from frustrated users who, despite buying the expensive hardware, didn’t get into the meta-metaverse.
Fancy VR, not the Metaverse
But the truth may be much harsher: figures from the market research institute IDC suggest that there is a high demand for VR glasses, especially among computer gamers – but a negligible amount for experiences in the Metaverse. The Meta Quest 2, the predecessor of the top model just presented, is said to have sold at least 15 million units worldwide – but only 1.3 percent of buyers have an account with Horizon Worlds.
Large stock market losses
The Metaverse crisis could turn into a debacle for the Meta company. The share price has halved from $287 to $130 in the past 12 months, and the meta newspaper lost 34 percent in the past six months alone. Although these are stormy times for all American tech companies, such high losses are striking. In comparison, Amazon’s share price lost 23 percent in the past six months, Apple – which is also said to have VR ambitions – was only seven percent.