Meta’s social virtual reality app, the Horizon Worlds, is currently testing features that permit in-world purchases of virtual items and effects, allowing creators to monetize what they are building. It had also begun testing Creator Bonuses through goal-oriented monthly programs.
Meta started rolling out these features with a small group of creators. The test allows some creators to sell virtual items and effects in the worlds that they have developed. According to Meaghan Fitzgerald, Product Marketing Director for Horizon, the in-world purchases could include virtual items such as jewelry or special basketball or access to their world’s VIP sections. The virtual items and effects could be purchased by all users in Horizon Worlds who must be over 18 years old in the US and Canada.
This test shows that Meta is following the directions of other 3D social platforms that allow creators to sell items they are developing. These platforms include Roblox, which soared during the pandemic, allowing the company to build a huge business from the model.
In these purchases, Meta will take a percentage. For purchases in Horizon, the company takes 25% after deducting the platform fee. For instance, in Meta’s Quest Store for VR titles that charges a 30% platform fee, Meta will charge 25% from the remaining 70%. This leaves the creators with a little over half of the price. Vivek Sharma, Meta’s Vice President of Horizon, told The Verge that Horizon believes the percentage to be quite competitive in the market.
Further, Meta is also testing a goal-oriented bonus program for creators (among the US participants). This is to motivate the creators to maximize the tools and develop their worlds. The fees will be paid in full to the creators and will not be subjected to fees.
These bonuses are given through goal-oriented monthly programs. The creators are paid according to their progress toward the goal at the end of the month. For the test roll-out, the creators will be paid based on building worlds that attract the most amount of time. Eventually, however, these goals are expected to evolve.
These creators who engage in the in-world selling of items and effects and take creator bonuses would have to follow the VR’s policies on conduct and prohibited contents for Horizon Worlds. Creators who violate the said policies are going to be removed from the program, said Fitzgerald.
Horizon Worlds is Meta’s social metaverse platform for Quest VR headsets. It was reported in February by The Verge that Horizon Worlds hit 300,000 users during its first months in VR, indicating a 10X increase in three months. While the company did not give an update on these numbers, Sharma shared plans for expansion. Horizon will eventually be available on mobile phones later this year. Further, the company is also in early discussions to be on game consoles.