Facebook has bet its future on virtual reality and the metaverse, rebranding to Meta and spending billions a year to build hardware and software that extends beyond traditional social media. But the company has, at least so far, shared little with the public about how well its early bets are performing.
Meta’s highest-profile bet right now is a social VR platform for the Quest headset called Horizon Worlds. It was recently featured in Meta’s Super Bowl ad, and Zuckerberg called it “core to our metaverse vision” on the company’s most recent earnings call.
He said that since Horizon Worlds was rolled out to all Quest users in the US and Canada in early December, its monthly user base has grown by a factor of 10x to 300,000 people, according to an employee who heard the remark. Meta spokesperson Joe Osborne confirmed the stat and said it included users of Horizon Worlds and Horizon Venues, a separate app for attending live events in VR that uses the same avatars and basic mechanics. The number doesn’t include Horizon Workrooms, a VR conferencing experience that relies on an invite system.
Before its December rollout, Horizon Worlds was in private beta for creators to test its world-building tools. Similar 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. Meta announced this week that 10,000 separate worlds have been built in Horizon Worlds to date, and its private Facebook group for creators now numbers over 20,000 members.
Meta still hasn’t disclosed how many Quest headsets it has sold to date, which makes it hard to gauge Horizon’s success relative to the underlying hardware platform it runs on. But several third-party estimates peg sales at over 10 million for the Quest.