‘An Empty World Is a Sad World:’ Internal Facebook Documents Show the Metaverse Is Failing to Take Off

Facebook’s “Horizon Worlds” metaverse, which allows users to interact in virtual worlds with an avatar, is falling far short of performance expectations according to internal documents obtained by the Wall Street Journal. Data shows most users of the metaverse don’t return after the first month, and the userbase has been in continuous decline since the spring.

Facebook (now known as Meta) initially set a goal of reaching 500,000 monthly active users for Horizon Worlds by the end of 2022, but revised that figure to 280,000 in recent weeks, according to company documents obtained by the Wall Street Journal.

The current number of monthly active users is less than 200,000, which is roughly the population of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

These numbers are embarrassing, given that Facebook’s other social media products — including Instagram and WhatsApp — have a combined total of more than 3.5 billion average monthly users, which is equivalent to nearly half the world’s population.

The company documents also show that most Horizon Worlds visitors usually don’t return to the app after the first month. Moreover, the user base has been continuously declining since the spring.

Horizon Worlds is designed to be “a sprawling collection of interactive virtual spaces, or worlds, in which users appearing as avatars can shop, party and work,” the Wall Street Journal notes.

“Yet there are rarely any girls in the Hot Girl Summer Rooftop Pool Party, and in Murder Village there is often no one to kill,” the Journal adds.

Internal statistics also pointed out that only nine percent of virtual worlds are ever visited by at least 50 people, and most of these worlds are never visited at all.

“An empty world is a sad world,” read one company document.

Meanwhile, Horizon Worlds is plagued with quality issues, and the employees who are building the metaverse app are barely using it, an executive said last month.

A recent Coindesk article outlined the apparent slow downfall of Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s digital metaverse concept. Despite widespread criticism of the metaverse from the tech world, the CEO remains completely obsessed with his virtual world.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.

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