Meta, the digital behemoth, has embarked on a mission to revitalize its struggling Horizon Worlds platform. It aims to achieve this by deploying its newly minted in-house VR game studio, attempting to offset substantial losses and rekindle dwindling consumer interest in its expansive metaverse.
Harnessing Technological Prowess for an Elevated Gaming Experience
In a revealing discourse with the tech-centric newsletter Lowpass, Vishal Shah, the Vice President of Meta’s metaverse, disclosed the company’s strategic maneuvers. Meta is churning out unique first-party titles via its novel in-house studio, Ouro Interactive. This initiative was underscored by the newsletter’s correspondent, who was able to test one of their upcoming games, “Super Rumble.” They experienced the improved visuals and immersive gameplay made possible by cutting-edge technology.
Shah told Lowpass, “We’ve significantly enhanced the potential of what can be engineered in Horizon about visual sophistication, interactivity, and captivating gameplay.” This statement encapsulates the studio’s focused efforts to push the boundaries of VR gaming.
Meta’s tactical roadmap also includes a significant focus on the vast population of mobile gamers across the globe. Shah suggested introducing Horizon Worlds to app marketplaces, intending to make the platform more inclusive. While the timeline for this remains undetermined, it is evident that the integration of cross-platform play is on the cards.
Broadening Horizons: From VR Exclusive to VR Centric
The proposed mobile version is envisioned as a gateway for those lacking VR headset ownership, nudging the platform from exclusively VR to prioritizing VR. In the previous year, Horizon Worlds has channeled its resources into facilitating more complex games and enabling developers to import assets using third-party tools.
Moreover, Horizon Worlds has started investing in generative AI tools to simplify the user experience, enabling them to create within its world without prior knowledge of professional 3D rendering tools. Shah confirmed to Lowpass, “This is beyond merely a new world. It’s the next generation of Horizon Worlds.”
The Interplay of AI and Metaverse: A Major Strategic Focus
CEO Mark Zuckerberg echoed the sentiments during a recent earnings call, labeling AI and the metaverse as “major priorities.” He pointed out the overlapping and complementary nature of these two dimensions.
Concerning Horizon, he expressed satisfaction with the progress made in user retention. He also highlighted significant upgrades to avatars, envisaging these as the connecting link between Meta’s mobile apps and VR and mixed reality experiences.
Despite these advances, Meta reported a hefty operating loss of $3.7 billion for Q2 2023 in its Reality Labs department. This unit is responsible for the Quest VR headsets and the Horizon Worlds platform. The company anticipates these losses to escalate year-over-year in 2023 due to continued product development.
A Resolute Stance Amidst Industry Retreat
Meta’s renewed dedication to its metaverse project surfaces at a time when industry counterparts like Disney are reportedly retreating from similar ventures. Despite operational setbacks, this unequivocal commitment underlines the potential Meta sees in the metaverse.
Only time will tell if these bold moves will successfully reignite interest in Horizon Worlds and shape the future of the virtual realm.
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