Horizon’s VR Meta platform has a lot of bugs and employees aren’t using it enough, says exec

The virtual reality social network Horizon Worlds – the company’s flagship “metaverse” app – has many quality issues and even team-building isn’t using it much, according to internal memos obtained by the edge.

In a memo to employees dated September 15, Metaverse Vice President Vishal Shah said that the team will remain on “quality insurance” for the rest of the year “to ensure we fix our quality gaps and performance issues before opening Horizon to more users.”

“Simply put, for an experience to become exhilarating and discreet, it must first be usable and well designed.”

“Since its launch late last year, we have seen that the core thesis of Horizon Worlds — a synchronous social network where creators can build engaging worlds — is powerful,” Shah wrote in a note last month. “But currently feedback from creators, users, Game Testers, and a lot of us on the team is that the overall paper weight, stability issues, and bugs make it very difficult for our community to experience the magic of Horizon. Simply put, for the experience to be exhilarating and discreet, it must first be usable and well designed.”

Although the Meta has teased its work on more realistic renders, the current quality of Horizon’s graphics pales in comparison to some non-VR competitors like Fortnite. Zuckerberg himself was recently camped after posting a screenshot of his Horizon avatar to celebrate the launch of Horizon for Quest to users in France and Spain. He quickly posted a follow-up image of a more advanced image, saying that he will share “major updates to Horizon and avatar graphics” at the company’s annual Connect conference scheduled for October 11.

“Why don’t we love our product so much that we use it all the time?”

A major issue in developing Horizon so far, according to Shah’s internal memoirs, is that the people who build it inside the Meta don’t seem to use it much. “For many of us, we don’t spend much time in Horizon, and the beta app dashboards make this very clear,” he wrote to employees on September 15. “Why is that? Why don’t we love the product we’ve created so much that we use it all the time? The simple truth is, if we don’t love it, how can we expect our users to love it?”

In a follow-up memo dated September 30, Shah said employees were still not using Horizon enough, and wrote that a plan was in place to “hold managers accountable” for their teams using Horizon at least once a week. “Everyone in this organization should make it their mission to fall in love with Horizon Worlds. You can’t do that without using it. Get in there. Organize times to do this with your colleagues or friends, both in the interiors as well as in the general building so you can interact with our community.”

He went on to talk about specific issues with Horizon, writing that “our in-flight experience is confusing and frustrating for users” and that the team needs to “introduce new users to first-class worlds that will ensure their first visit is a success.”

Shah said the teams working on Horizon need to collaborate better together and anticipate more changes in the future. “Today, we are not working with enough flexibility,” his memo read. “I want to be clear on this point. We are working on a product that hasn’t found the right fit for the market. If you’re on Horizon, I want you to embrace ambiguity and change completely.”

He said that employees working on Horizon will be lowering their goals to increase the number of users in virtual reality and that the upcoming 2D version of Horizon for the web will likely not be a user target but instead a “high quality bar”.

In a joint statement with the edgeMeta spokesperson Ashley Zandi said the company is “confident that the metaverse is the future of computing and that it should be built around people.” She said the company is “always making quality improvements and acting on feedback from our creative community. This is a multi-year journey, and we’ll continue to improve what we’re building.”

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