Meta’s Horizon Worlds “metaverse” platform is now in the top 10 most used apps on the Quest Store in the US.
Mark Zuckerberg announced the achievement to investors during Meta’s Q4 2023 earnings call on Thursday.
The Meta Quest Store publicly lists the ‘Most Popular’ apps at a given time in your region at a URL described as showing "the most played experiences right now", which I often check to see what Quest owners are actually doing with their headsets. At the time of writing, Horizon Worlds is #8 in the US, so it seems likely this is the metric Zuckerberg was referring to.
When I last noted Horizon Worlds' rank a few months ago it was around #20, so Meta’s social platform is seeing impressive growth. And in a way, it’s not surprising. Horizon Worlds has seen significant fundamental upgrades over the past year.
In July, Meta announced that it had spun up a new studio called Ouro Interactive to build high-quality games in Horizon using imported 3D assets created in professional desktop modeling software. Ouro has launched three games so far, Super Rumble, Citadel, and Shootball. Meta has also recently been rolling out this 3D asset importing capability to select third-party creators.
This new capability enables worlds with much higher fidelity graphics, avoiding the flat lifeless style of worlds built using the in-VR shape manipulation tools.
In September, Horizon Worlds finally added the feature it had been ridiculed on social media for not having: legs. While there are valid arguments for why avatars without full body tracking shouldn’t have legs, they fell flat in the face of the fact that it just looked janky and unfinished in screenshots shared to outside VR, limiting the appeal of the entire platform. As frivolous as it may sound, we'd wager adding legs had a non-negligible impact on Horizon Worlds’ growth.
In December, Horizon fully rolled out support for members-only worlds, enabling the platform to be used by clubs, groups, and communities.
What may have had the biggest impact of all, though, was Meta integrating Horizon Worlds into the Quest system software Library interface. Since v60, as well as Applications Quest owners now have a tab called Worlds, with one-click access to the top Horizon destinations.
Even though it made it to the top 10 most used apps on Quest, however, Horizon Worlds is still ranked behind its major competitors. At the time of writing, Rec Room is #3, VRChat is #4, and Roblox is #6.
That all the major social platforms are in the top 10 most used apps on Quest reflects just how popular and retentive social VR is. People often think of Quest as a platform only for gaming and fitness, but social VR platforms are more used than all but a handful games - and any fitness app. While mainstream sentiment towards the idea of spending time socializing in “the metaverse” remains in the realm of ridicule or speculation about future potential, for millions of headset owners it’s already their primary use case.