What you need to know
- Meta's CTO referenced an upcoming Horizon Worlds web version while defending the app's high fees on Twitter.
- Earlier this week, The Verge reported Meta would bring HW to mobile in 2022 and was planning console ports.
- Horizon Worlds recently enabled in-world monetization but attracted controversy this week for the huge cut of profits taken by Meta.
- An Apple spokesperson accused the company of "hypocrisy" for its high creator fees.
Meta CTO Andrew Bosworth shared on Twitter that popular VR social app Horizon Worlds would receive a "web version." While Horizon Worlds has grown 10 times in popularity up to 300,000 monthly users since its public launch, a non-VR web version could greatly increase its reach.
As exhibit A, Rec Room (which has VR and non-VR versions) grew from 1 million monthly users in January to 3 million in April, many of whom don't own VR headsets.
Meta announced earlier this week it would bring Worlds to mobile by the end of 2022 and is in "early discussions" to launch it on consoles. Add in a web version and the VR version, and Horizon Worlds could have the explosive growth it needs for Meta to make it the foundation for its Metaverse.
When Horizon’s web version launches, the Horizon platform fee will only be 25%—a much lower rate compared to other similar world-building platforms.April 14, 2022
Boz brought up the HW port news in the midst of defending his company from accusations of "hypocrisy" from Apple spokesperson Fred Sainz.
Meta has openly and frequently criticized Apple and Google for their high app store fees, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg claiming these fees are "stifling innovation...and holding back the entire internet economy." During his metaverse announcement, Zuckerberg mentioned the company would try to keep fees low "to maximize the overall creator economy."
But when Meta announced that some creators could begin to sell in-game items to players, we learned that it would take a 25% cut of profits, on top of the automatic 30% cut taken by the Oculus Store, App Store, or Play Store. That comes out to a 47.5% cut, which Boz noted is "similar to the Roblox and YouTube rates."
"Meta has repeatedly taken aim at Apple for charging developers a 30% commission," Sainz told MarketWatch. "Now — Meta seeks to charge those same creators significantly more than any other platform. [Meta’s] announcement lays bare Meta’s hypocrisy. It goes to show that while they seek to use Apple’s platform for free, they happily take from the creators and small businesses that use their own."
While Sainz's claim that Meta will charge "significantly more" seems hyperbolic, it's also not clear these fees are "much lower" either, as Boz suggested. Given that Meta owns Horizon Worlds, it's surprising the company wouldn't waive its own 30% Store fee while cutting a reasonable 25% for in-game store fees, at least to help the HW economy grow.
But perhaps that would be seen as an uncompetitive advantage for Meta's games, given the other best Quest 2 games cannot waive store fees for their own in-game microtransactions.
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Michael spent years freelancing on every tech topic under the sun before settling down on the real exciting stuff: virtual reality, fitness wearables, gaming, and how tech intersects with our world. He's a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves running, D&D, and Star Wars. Find him on Twitter at @Michael_L_Hicks.