Meta Aims to Recharge Lagging Horizon Worlds Metaverse – Meta is aiming to revitalize its struggling Horizon Worlds platform by establishing an in-house VR game studio called Ouro Interactive. Through this new venture, the company intends to create fresh first-party titles in an effort to recover significant losses and reignite consumers’ interest in their metaverse.
According to Vishal Shah, Meta’s metaverse VP, the studio is utilizing cutting-edge technological advancements to deliver vastly improved and more immersive experiences, as noted by a tech newsletter, Lowpass, whose author had the opportunity to play one of their new games, “Super Rumble.” “We’ve really raised the ceiling on what can be built in Horizon in terms of visual complexity, interactivity and fun gameplay,” Meta’s metaverse VP Vishal Shah told Lowpass.
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Shah revealed that Meta aims to expand its reach to the vast mobile gaming audience, estimated to be in the billions worldwide, by launching Horizon Worlds on app stores. However, the specific timeline for this move remains uncertain. To cater to those without VR headsets, the mobile version will incorporate cross-platform play, serving as a bridge and transitioning the platform from a “VR-only” focus to a “VR-first” approach, as explained to Lowpass.
In the past year, Horizon Worlds has dedicated its efforts to enhancing support for intricate games and enabling developers to import assets from third-party tools. Additionally, the platform is making investments in generative AI tools, aimed at simplifying the building process for users who may not be familiar with professional 3D rendering tools. These initiatives are geared towards fostering a more accessible and creative environment within its world.
“This is definitely more than just a new world,” Shah told Lowpass. “It’s the next generation of Horizon Worlds.” CEO Mark Zuckerberg affirmed Meta’s commitment to AI and the metaverse in an earnings call on Wednesday, calling them both “major priorities” that are now “overlapping an complementary.” “For Horizon, the team is focused on retention right now and we’re making good progress on that,” he said.
“We made big improvements on avatars as well and that’s going to be a bridge between our mobile apps and our VR and mixed reality experiences.” Despite its efforts, Meta faced challenges in its Reality Labs department during the second quarter of 2023, recording an operating loss of $3.7 billion. This department encompasses the business and research unit responsible for Quest VR headsets and the Horizon Worlds platform.
In a press release, Meta acknowledged that it anticipates the operating losses for Reality Labs to continue increasing in 2023 compared to the previous year, primarily due to ongoing product development activities. Meta’s renewed focus on the metaverse comes at a time when other companies are scaling back their metaverse projects. For instance, in March, Disney reportedly made the decision to lay off its metaverse team and discontinue its virtual world-building efforts.