Social media giant Meta is reportedly planning to expand its Horizon Worlds VR metaverse game to teens aged 13-17 as soon as this March, according to an internal memo reported by The Wall Street Journal.
The metaverse app was first launched back in December 2021, and is currently available to users aged 18 or above who have the Meta Quest headset. But the company seems to be facing challenges in retaining its players and attracting new ones.
In the internal memo named ‘’Horizon 2023 Goals and Strategy’’, Horizon’s Vice President Gabriel Aul informed the team working on the app about the company’s goals for the first half of this year. He said that the top objective is to improve user retention, especially among teenagers and young adults since they are the ones that ‘’in many ways will be the true digital citizens of the metaverse and have grown up seamlessly interfacing with the technology and connecting with people remotely’’, the WSJ reported.
“Today our competitors are doing a much better job meeting the unique needs of these cohorts,’’ Aul wrote in the memo. ‘’For Horizon to succeed we need to ensure that we serve this cohort first and foremost.”
Meta’s Communication Director Joe Osborne said: “Teens are already spending time in a variety of VR experiences on Quest, and we want to ensure that we can provide them with a great experience in Horizon Worlds as well, with age-appropriate tools and protections in place.’’
According to sources familiar with the issue, one of Horizon’s main problems is that it fails to keep its existing players, largely caused by those who install the game to try it, but later get discouraged by the lack of positive experiences or fellow users to play with. They added that the game had a weekly retention rate of 11% in January, so only one in nine players gave it another try last month. The memo shows that Meta wants to grow that number to 20% in the first half of 2023.
In addition to improving user retention, the company also wants the Horizon team to grow the game’s user base. Sources said that it’s currently played by merely over 200,000 users, which is below the peak the company saw in late December when Quest headset sales increased and users had more time to play the game during the holiday season. According to the memo, Meta wants to bring the number of its monthly active users to 500,000 during the first half, and to 1 million by the end of this year.
To help reach its goals, the company also assigned the team with various tasks such as improving the game’s reliability, sustaining high performance, offering a fair and safe user experience, and also expanding partnerships with second-party game studios.
The memo shows that Meta wants to launch a minimum 20 new experiences created by second-party studios, turn five of them into medium hits and at least one into a major hit.
Also Read: The 13 Best VR Games for Android
In addition, Meta also wants to bring a 2D version of its metaverse product to mobile devices and desktops, something it promised to do last year but couldn’t succeed.
Furthermore, the tech giant aims for further integration between the VR game and its other products such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram. During Meta’s Q4 earnings call that took place last week, CEO Zuckerberg shared that over 100 million WhatsApp users have already created avatars.
“I thought that was an interesting example of how the Family of Apps and metaverse visions come together,” said Zuckerberg. “Even though most of our Reality Labs investment is going toward future computing platforms—glasses, headsets and the software to run them—as the technology develops, most people are going to experience the metaverse for the first time on phones and then start building up their digital identities across our apps.”
The company now wants to increase the number of monthly cross-screen Horizon users to 150,000 by the end of H1.