Meta’s VR social network Horizon Worlds – the company’s flagship “metaverse” app – suffers from too many quality issues and even the team building effort it doesn’t use much, according to internal memos obtained by The edge.
In one of the memos to employees dated Sept. 15, Meta’s VP of Metaverse, Vishal Shah, said the team would remain in a “quality lockout” for the rest of the year to “make sure we fix our quality gaps and performance issues before we open Horizon.” for more users.”
“Simply put, for an experience to be enjoyable and tenacious, it must first be usable and well-crafted.”
“Since launching late last year, we’ve seen the core thesis of Horizon Worlds — a synchronous social network where creators can build compelling worlds — is strong,” Shah wrote in a memo last month. “But right now the feedback from our creators, users, playtesters and many of us on the team is that the total weight of papercuts, stability issues and bugs makes it too difficult for our community to experience the magic of Horizon. Simply put, a experience becomes pleasurable and tenacious, it must first be useful and well made.”
While Meta has teased his work on more lifelike avatars, the current quality of Horizon’s graphics pales in comparison to some of its non-VR competitors like Fortnite. Zuckerberg himself recently got a meme feature after posting a screenshot of his Horizon avatar to celebrate the launch of Horizon for Quest users in France and Spain. He quickly posted a follow-up image of a more advanced avatar, saying he would share “major updates to Horizon and avatar graphics” at the company’s annual Connect conference, scheduled for October 11.
“Why don’t we love the product we built so much that we use it all the time?”
A major problem with Horizon’s development so far, according to Shah’s internal memos, is that the people building it in Meta don’t seem to be using it all that much. “For many of us, we don’t spend that much time in Horizon and our dogfooding dashboards show this quite clearly,” he wrote to employees on Sept. 15. 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 follow-up memo dated Sept. 30, Shah said employees were still not using Horizon enough and wrote that a plan was being made to “hold managers accountable” for their teams using Horizon at least once a 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. Go in. Organize times to do it with your colleagues or friends, both in internal builds and in the public build, so you can interact with our community.
He went on to cite specific issues with Horizon, writing that “our onboarding experience is confusing and frustrating for users” and that the team “needs to introduce new users to world-class worlds that will make their first visit a success.”
Shah said the teams working on Horizon needed to work better together and expect more changes to come. “Today we are not flexible enough,” his memo reads. “I want to be clear on this point. We are working on a product that is not suitable for the product market. When you’re on Horizon, I want you to fully embrace ambiguity and change.”
He said that employees working on Horizon will lower their goals for growing users in VR and that the upcoming 2D version of Horizon for web will probably not have a user target, but a “high quality bar” instead.
In a statement shared with The edgeMeta spokesperson Ashley Zandy said the company “believes that the metaverse is the future of computers and it should be built around people.” She said the company is “always making quality improvements and acting on the feedback from our community of creators. This is a multi-year journey and we continue to improve what we build.”