14th April 2022
Meta has launched a suite of tools to help creators make and sell virtual products in Horizon, its metaverse platform and has revealed that it will take almost half of the revenue generated as a fee.
As the metaverse arms race heats up Meta is rolling out a number of tools in beta mode for testing with a handful of creators.
The first suite of tools allows creators to sell virtual items and effects within their worlds. Examples given include someone creating attachable accessories for a fashion world or offering paid access to a new part of a world. Creators selling items will see a Commerce tab and ‘gizmo’ when they are in Create mode that lets them create purchasable items. The purchase of items in Horizon Worlds is available to people 18+ in the US and Canada where Horizon Worlds is currently available.
In addition to the creation tools for in-world purchase, Meta is also testing a Horizon Worlds Creator Bonus program, with bonuses coming in the form of goal-orientated monthly programs where creators are paid out at the end of the month for their progress towards the goal - a way of funding the building out of the Horizon Worlds metaverse.
Creator bonuses are not subject to fees. However, there is a fee being applied to in-world purchases. A platform fee of 30% for sales made through Meta Quest applies (formerly known as Oculus Quest) and a further 25% fee for sales made on Horizon Worlds applies. This means a $1.00 purchase would see 47 cents in fees heading to Meta, leaving the remaining 53 cents for the creator.
This fee has attracted some criticism, not least because Mark Zuckerberg has himself previously criticised Apple in a Facebook post for its 30% fee for in-app purchases via the App Store and even launched a program to help developers keep all the money they earn from their subscriptions. Meta has responded to these suggestions by stating that the fee is a competitive rate in the current market.
The ability to create and sell in-world items is not new, with other metaverse worlds including Roblox taking this approach. Roblox has built a strong business off the back of this mechanic and it lists the ‘Roblox Share’ of developer revenue as 19.6%, although a further 27.9% is allocated to ‘Platform and Hosting Support’ and ‘Platform Investment’, which means once third party App Store fees have been included, a Roblox developer typically sees 28 cents per dollar spent.
‘Metaverse’ is the buzziest of all buzzwords right now because it is all upside and it promises that it will change every aspect of our life. What the reality of the future of the metaverse will be, is much less certain. The virtual gold rush taking place right now is reminiscent of the 90s digital gold rush, when the path to success was littered with failures left by the wayside (and largely forgotten compared to the few big dominant success stories that prevailed). If you’ve watched Ready Player One then you’ll be familiar with The Oasis and the battle to own it. Life is somewhat imitating art right now – will it be Meta that dominates the Metaverse? Will it be the gaming metaverse worlds of Roblox, Minecraft or Fortnite and their owners? Will Amazon make a play? Maybe all of these? Or will it come out of another garage somewhere in California, Shanghai or Seoul that we don’t even know about yet? We just don’t know, which is why the buzz around the metaverse is going nowhere.