Meta announced earlier this week it would eventually allow creators to sell items on its social VR platform, Horizon Worlds, adding that the company would take around 50% of revenue as its cut. Meta CTO Andrew Bosworth now says however Horizon Worlds is also getting a web-based version at some point which will feature lower creator fees.

Horizon Worlds is currently only available to Quest users in the US and Canada, although the company seems to be gearing up to expand with the announcement of a web-based version of the metaverse platform. For now, Horizon Worlds lets Quest users to chat and play mini-games, but the company is also nudging developers to build their own games, experiences, and items—all of it sellable on a future marketplace.

According to Bosworth, the platform fee for the web-based version of Horizon Worlds will only be 25%, which is a significant difference from the 47.5% fee previously announced for the VR version.

Speaking to The Verge, Meta VP of Horizon Vivek Sharma revealed its also working on bringing Horizon to mobile phones at some point later this year, and is currently in talks around releasing on game consoles too—two big steps in growing its userbase beyond the Quest platform.

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Bosworth says the 25% platform fee will also be applied to other platforms beyond the web-based version, albeit after Apple/Google/Whoever takes their cut. Like on the Meta platform for Quest, that works out to (depending on the platform) more or less an effective rate of 47.5% of anything sold on Horizon Worlds to Meta, leaving 52.5% to the creator.

Meta’s Horizon Worlds is undoubtedly headed into competition with Roblox, but it’s clearly eyeing other successful VR social platforms such as VRChat and Rec Room toothe latter of which announced last week that it had hit three million monthly active VR users—yes, VR users.

Granted, Rec Room, which is available on basically every console and mobile platform now, says its VR userbase is a “pretty low percentage” of overall active players—something that Meta likely also suspects as it marches ever closer to its goal of establishing its post-Facebook metaverse presence.

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  • Sean Lumly

    This is actually a shrewd move. It provides a gateway for “low” creator fees, while mirroring the content on its much more heavily taxed platform. As VR users increase and/or users migrate from the web, creators will be increasingly locked into paying the higher fees.

    A likely outcome is that creators will charge this through to their customers as a form of inflation of price, which will increase as VR revenues increase.

    And it seems like a new standard of exploitation of creators (~%50 revenue) is being set, if this is similar to rates of other social platforms (Roblox, Youtube, Rec Room ? etc). 30% for app markets was already high, but capitalism never fails to surprise.

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  • wheeler

    So how does this work?

    Does the web-based version support VR?

    Will everything be uniformly accessible across all versions? Or will the web-based version have certain limitations that make unfavorable to users? E.g. lacking features, performs poorly, high friction, etc etc

    If one buys something through the web version, can they access it later through the “native” version? And why wouldn’t this incentivize developers to try and funnel users through the web-based version instead of the VR version? (and why would facebook tolerate that?)

    Without answers to these questions, it’s hard to tell if this is just performative (for good PR against apple) or actually relevant.

  • kool

    This is why meta won’t make the meta verse. It has to be made, then made fun and then you can monetize it. As long as they start from a profit based approach to fun they’ll be left behind. It’s telling that they now content creators after spendt billions in development and still not having anything to show off from their internal studios.

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  • knuckles625

    Um, if this article is taking about a 25% platform fee on web vs the 30% platform fee on Oculus app store, both would still presumably be in addition to the 25% cut of selling a digital good.

    So you’re taking about the creator taking home a whopping 3.75% more of their sale… (70%x25%=52.5% vs 75%x25%=56.25% take homes)

    “A much lower rate” is a pretty big stretch to me

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  • Is VRChat even allowed to consider itself a place for Content Creator? Unless you like to “donate” your work for free, most of it’s stolen. I know some people get a trickle of work doing custom avies, here and there, but the SHEER AMOUNT OF IP THEFT on VRChat is frightening! There isn’t a game’s content that hasn’t been stolen for that mess of an app. How they haven’t been sued into oblivion can only be attributed to luck… so far. That clock is ticking.

    And don’t blame the users! If YouTube can’t even allow it’s content creators to use a little background music from a copyrighted song, there’s NO WAY VRChat can continue to steal from Disney, Microsoft, EA, and every other game maker on the planet. That whole argument about “It’s the user’s fault” doesn’t hold water. They profit from it, they are responsible for it. That cop out hasn’t held water since Limewire.

    • knuckles625

      I understand the argument, but I’m at a loss of how VRChat would implement a content moderation system similar to the YouTube music moderation system you’re referencing.

      It’s a solvable problem to compare music clips to a known library of songs. It’s incredibly complex if not impossible to check a 20k polygon 3D model for similarity to a 2D or 3D likeness. Directly ripped model files from games might be possible but would require studios to give VRChat official reference files (not super likely to happen).

      It’s even more complicated when you consider that a fair number of VRChat avatars are modeled by an artist in blender, rigged, and then sold (and likely pirated many times over afterwards).

      The best (I think) you’re going to get in VRChat is paid moderators, or community self-moderation, which doesn’t have a high likelihood of achieving the result you’re taking about.

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    • PK

      vrchat’s implementation will start with a patreon-like service if i understand correctly, where you support creators you like. eventually i assume they’ll do things like let you sell tickets to events and yes even sell avatars in their shops, however, they would need better anti-theft built in. as for using fan art from larger IP’s i hope that remains open because that’s a big part of the experience for many, role playing, although of course that’ll be clamped down on at some point. best way for companies to avoid that is to create official versions of their characters and worlds and put them on the platform.