Horizon Worlds, Meta’s social metaverse platform for Quest VR headsets that will soon be available on mobile phones and maybe gaming consoles, is testing new capabilities that will allow artists to make money.
The most notable feature is that a “handful” of Horizon designers will be allowed to sell virtual things and effects in the landscapes they create for others to explore. According to Meaghan Fitzgerald, product marketing director for Horizon, producers may sell everything from access to a VIP portion of their environment to virtual things like jewelry or an unique basketball. Participants in the United States will also have the opportunity to win money from a $10 million creator fund that Meta recently established to reward world developers who create the most engaging worlds.
Meta is following in the footsteps of other 3D social platforms like Roblox and Rec Room, which both allow artists to sell objects they design, with this test of “in-world purchases.” Roblox has made a fortune off of this approach, whereas Rec Room is rapidly expanding and putting a premium on creator monetization.
Meta will take a percentage of what creators sell, though the precise amount is still up in the air. Meta will take a 25% share of the remaining proportion after a platform charge for Horizon purchases. The creator will be left with a little more than half of the selling price on sites that charge a 30% fee, such as Meta’s own Quest Store for VR games (the math there being that Meta is taking 25 percent of 70 percent).
“We believe in the other platforms being allowed to have their part,” Vivek Sharma, Meta’s VP of Horizon, tells The Verge. (Even then, Meta has consistently criticized Apple’s 30% take rate as being too aggressive for the iPhone environment, and has purposely cut its rate for specific in-app purchases on mobile.)
Horizon presently has no advertising save from a recent Wendy’s-themed environment dubbed “Wendyverse” with a sneer. While the current focus is on revenue for creators, Fitzgerald believes that commercials “may be an area we want to investigate in the future.”
To encourage artists to use Meta’s tools and expand their worlds, the company is launching a “goal-oriented incentive scheme.” There will be no costs associated with these bonuses, and they will be paid in full. According to Sharma, they are mostly decided by the level of participation that a creator’s environment receives.
For Horizon Worlds, creators who utilize in-world purchases and receive creator incentives must follow the company’s VR behaviour code and forbidden content policy. Creators that do not follow the regulations will be kicked out of the program, according to Fitzgerald.
Horizon Worlds reached 300,000 monthly users in VR during its first three months of availability, according to The Verge, and the business has officially stated that 10,000 worlds have been built. Meta didn’t have any new information on use statistics, although Sharma did mention intentions for expansion. According to Sharma, the business plans to release Horizon Worlds on mobile phones later this year and is in “early negotiations” about releasing it on gaming consoles.