Although big tech firms love to casually throw the term "metaverse" around from time to time - in fact, Facebook even rebranded to Meta to emphasize its importance - barely anyone has been able to explain how the concept significantly differs from other digital worlds and what value it adds to our lives.
Now, leaked Meta memos have indicated that the Horizon Worlds metaverse project isn't faring so well inside the company either and executives are seemingly desperate to increase engagement and interest in any way possible.
In a series of memos obtained by The Verge, Meta's VP of Metaverse, Vishal Shah, has expressed frustration at the quality issues plaguing Horizon Worlds. In a memo dated September 15, the executive has noted that the feedback from the title's playtesters, creators, and users has not been positive due to the plethora of bugs present. He went on to highlight that the project hasn't gained much engagement inside the company either:
For many of us, we don’t spend that much time in Horizon and our dogfooding dashboards show this pretty clearly. Why is that? Why don’t we love the product we’ve built so much that we use it all the time? The simple truth is, if we don’t love it, how can we expect our users to love it?
However, tensions seemed to be mounting up until September 30, when Shah sent out another memo saying that internal engagement metrics still haven't improved and that a plan is being drafted to "hold managers accountable" and have their teams explore Horizon Worlds on a weekly basis, at least. He emphasized that:
Everyone in this organization should make it their mission to fall in love with Horizon Worlds. You can’t do that without using it. Get in there. Organize times to do it with your colleagues or friends, in both internal builds but also the public build so you can interact with our community.
Shah also highlighted other issues such as a frustrating and unclear onboarding experience, lack of flexibility, and difficulties in finding a product market fit.
However, in a statement to the same media outlet, a Meta spokesperson downplayed the wording of these memos, saying that:
[Meta is] confident that the metaverse is the future of computing and that it should be built around people. [Meta is] always making quality improvements and acting on the feedback from our community of creators. This is a multiyear journey, and we’re going to keep making what we build better.
Horizon Worlds is currently available via Meta Quest but is coming soon to the web too. Meta has reported losses of billions of dollars in the metaverse initiative and it remains to be seen how sustainable this is given the low internal and public traction. We do have a Meta Connect event coming up in a few days so we'll soon find out if the company is successful in generating more interest in this area.
Source: The Verge