Meta announces plans to monetize the Metaverse, and creators aren’t happy

Enlarge / A purchase confirmation dialog in Horizon Worlds.

Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, announced some initial plans on Wednesday to allow content creators to monetize in its upcoming Metaverse platform, Horizon Worlds. Meta’s predicted revenue share for contributor creations could reach nearly 50%.

Horizon Worlds is a network of shared 3D spaces that is currently exclusively available on Oculus Quest headsets. (Meta plans to bring it to mobiles, game consoles, and desktop VR in the months and years to come.)

There are already people creating spaces for Horizon Worlds, including a virtual yoga studio and a second life-like the integration of the fast food brand in the form of the “Wendyverse”. But to date, Horizon Worlds has not offered the tools for creators to make a living creating this content as they could on similar services such as Roblox.

That’s not to say the creators haven’t made money; some are paid for contract work outside of Meta’s system to create content for brands or other users to use. But Meta’s announcements paint a picture of what to expect.

First, Horizon Worlds will support in-world purchases. A handful of creators will be able to sell virtual items from user-generated areas. Meta also plans to introduce a creator bonus program that awards money to creators based on the amount of other users who interact with their content.

This all sounds like you’d expect, but Meta caused a stir in the AR/VR, NFT and related online communities when it revealed details on how much revenue Meta will earn from each transaction.

When users purchase an item in Horizon Worlds, Meta confirmed to CNBC that it would take a 25% discount, but that’s after any amount a hardware platform might take. Right now, that just means Meta’s Oculus store, which is taking a 30% discount. So, content creators will have to hand over 30% to the Oculus store (or the applicable percentage for whatever platform Horizon Worlds will later end up on, like Google Play), and then they’ll have to hand over 25% of what’s left to Horizon. Worlds. .

That leaves creators just over half of their content revenue before any applicable taxes.

The announcement angered creators in the NFT community, who are used to single-digit percentage platforming takes. There are also accusations of hypocrisy from game developers and others who have seen Meta publicly criticize companies like Apple for charging 30% on similar deals around game content.

So far, Meta has brushed off the controversy. Vivek Sharma, VP of Meta for Horizon Worlds, told The Verge, “We think it’s a pretty competitive price in the market…we believe other platforms can have their share.”

Meta is a huge company with several disparate goals and teams behind each of those goals. It’s not so surprising that a Horizon Worlds executive tells a different story (other platforms deserve their cut) than the parts of Meta that agitate Apple and others (claiming that the cuts of these platforms -forms are unreasonable).

But mixed messages aside, the content creators we spoke with say the slice of the pie they’ll get on this platform is far less than expected.

Horizon Worlds is just part of Meta’s plan to bring AR, VR, and virtual worlds to the masses. The company also plans to introduce consumer augmented reality glasses in 2024, putting it in direct competition with Apple and other companies with similar plans.

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