Horizon Worlds is too buggy and hasn’t yet reached product market fit, the exec in charge told staff.
Horizon Worlds is Meta’s “metaverse” platform. It works similarly to Rec Room, allowing users to create their own social games and experiences inside VR by using controllers to place & manipulate shapes, with a visual scripting system to add dynamic functionality.
In an internal memo from September 15th leaked to The Verge, Meta’s VP of Metaverse Vishal Shah declared a “quality lockdown” for the rest of the year to “ensure that we fix our quality gaps and performance issues before we open up Horizon to more users.”
“Since launching late last year, we have seen that the core thesis of Horizon Worlds — a synchronous social network where creators can build engaging worlds — is strong,” Shah wrote. “But currently feedback from our creators, users, playtesters, and many of us on the team is that the aggregate weight of papercuts, stability issues, and bugs is making it too hard for our community to experience the magic of Horizon. Simply put, for an experience to become delightful and retentive, it must first be usable and well crafted.”
“For many of us, we don’t spend that much time in Horizon and our dogfooding dashboards show this pretty clearly […] Why is that? Why don’t we love the product we’ve built so much that we use it all the time? The simple truth is, if we don’t love it, how can we expect our users to love it?”
In a second memo just over two weeks later also leaked to The Verge, Shah said he planned to require managers to have their teams use Horizon Worlds at least once per week:
“Everyone in this organization should make it their mission to fall in love with Horizon Worlds. You can’t do that without using it. Get in there. Organize times to do it with your colleagues or friends, in both internal builds but also the public build so you can interact with our community.”
He pointed out issues with the platform, including that “our onboarding experience is confusing and frustrating for users”, saying Meta needs to “introduce new users to top-notch worlds that will ensure their first visit is a success.”
Shah also admitted what many have suspected: Horizon Worlds “has not found product market fit”. He told staff they are “not operating with enough flexibility” and asked them to “fully embrace ambiguity and change”. Product market fit is a business term that essentially means building something a large number of people actually want to consistently use.
The apparent near-term focus on quality comes in stark contrast to the multiple major features announced by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, including a mobile version and a web version supposed to be launched later this year. Zuckerberg also teased significant graphics updates for both Worlds and the Meta Avatars it uses.
Any Horizon updates would likely be revealed on Tuesday at Meta Connect, the company’s annual AR/VR conference.