When Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled a first look at his company’s multi-billion dollar virtual reality metaverse bet, Horizon Worlds, the internet mocking mocking platform graphics– insofar as Zuckerberg published soon after a hurt excuseclaiming that Horizon was “capable of much more” and “improving rapidly”.
It seems that even the Meta employees working on these improvements don’t hold the platform in high regard either.
According to internal company notes obtained by The edge, Meta’s Horizon Worlds team has been repeatedly chastised by department management for rarely using the platform, despite repeated orders to do so both at work and at home. Further memos reveal that the Horizon Worlds team has been instructed to remain in a “quality lockdown” for the remainder of the year to address persistent issues with the look and functionality of the platform.
“For many of us, we don’t spend much time in Horizon and our dogfooding dashboards show that pretty clearly,” Metaverse VP Vishal Shah wrote to employees on Sept. 15. “Why is that? Why don’t we like the product we’ve built so much that we use it all the time? The simple truth is, if we don’t like it, how can we expect our users like it?”
Two weeks later, Horizon Worlds management found that their team members’ engagement with the platform was still unsatisfactory. In a note dated Sept. 30, Shah wrote that a plan was being developed to “hold managers accountable” for enforcing mandatory Horizon sessions for Meta employees to use the platform and encourage them. to share it with friends who don’t work.
“Everyone in this organization should make it their mission to fall in love with Horizon Worlds. You can’t do that without using it,” Shah said. colleagues or friends, both in the internal builds but also in the public build in order to be able to interact with our community.
Shah conceded that the platform onboarding experience “is confusing and frustrating for users” and that “the total weight of paper cuts, stability issues and bugs makes it too difficult for our community to find out. the magic of Horizon”.
For these reasons, the Horizon Worlds team was instructed by Shah on September 15 to remain in a “quality lockdown” until the end of the year to “ensure that we address our quality deficiencies and our performance issues before opening Horizon to more users”. ”
A Meta spokesperson said Decrypt that “of course, we’re always making quality improvements and acting on feedback from our creator community”.
“This is a multi-year journey, and we will continue to improve what we build,” the spokesperson said.
Horizon Worlds’ woes are particularly notable in light of the exceptional amount of money Zuckerberg has poured into the division, which the CEO has repeatedly touted as the future of his company. In July, the metaverse division of Meta recorded a huge loss of $2.8 billion for the second quarter, bringing year-to-date losses for the group to $5.77 billion. In 2021, the division lost $10.2 billion.
During Meta’s second-quarter earnings call in July, Zuckerberg repeatedly defended his metaverse division, Facebook Reality Labs (FRL), to shareholders.
“It’s obviously a very expensive business over the next few years,” Zuckerberg conceded at the time. “But as the metaverse becomes more important in every part of how we live[…] I am convinced that we will be happy to have played an important role in this construction.
Meta has pulled out all the stops to dominate the Metaverse — an immersive future version of the Internet navigated by digital avatars — since change facebook business name last fall. But WAlthough Zuckerberg has gone on a voracious spending spree in the metaverse, the results have yet to materialize.
Web3 executives have expressed skepticism about the company’s metaverse campaign. At the end of July, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin said that “the metaverse is going to happen”, but that he does not believe that “none of the existing attempts by companies to intentionally create the metaverse are going anywhere. “.
“It’s way too early to know what people actually want,” Buterin said. said at the time. “So anything Facebook creates now will fail.”
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