Meta wants nearly half of metaverse creator revenue earned from its virtual reality platform, Horizon Worlds. The parent company of Facebook set the revenue share at a total of 47.5%, including 30% as a hardware platform fee and in-world purchases and another 17.5% for Horizon Worlds, reports 9to5 Mac. In their FAQs, Meta gives the following example.
If a creator sells an item for $1.00, the Meta Quest Store fee is $0.30, and the Horizon Platform fee is $0.17. The creator earns the remainder of $0.53 before taxes.
Vivek Sharma, Meta’s vice president of Horizon, told The Verge they think the creator revenue share is “a pretty competitive rate in the market.” They anticipate other platforms in the metaverse to charge a similar rate. What is ironic is that Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has criticized Apple for their 30% revenue agreement with developers, and this is not consistent with his promise to creators who would “keep all the money they earn (minus taxes).”
The Verge reports that Meta is testing features that will allow creators to make money selling virtual items and effects within Horizon Worlds, similar to the way gamers can buy add-ons, outfits, weapons and other digital items in a console video game. Creators from the U.S. will also be able to earn from a $10 million creator fund set up by Meta to reward developers with the most creative and engaging worlds.
Creator revenue through bonuses
Meta is also testing a Horizon Worlds Creator Bonus program for creators in the U.S. The bonuses are goal-oriented monthly programs where Meta pays creators on a monthly basis for their progress toward goals. Unlike the revenue share for in-world purchases, creator bonuses are not subject to fees. Creators receive the full bonus. The goals are focused around engagement, so creators who attract the most time spent in Horizon Worlds could earn bonuses. Meta said these goals will evolve over time, and they hope the bonus program will encourage creators to use new tools and features as Meta rolls them out.
“While our new creator bonuses and in-world purchases tools are only testing with a handful of creators today, we’re also continuing to roll out more tools and support for all creators that make building new worlds even easier,” Meta said.
Currently, Horizon Worlds can be viewed through Oculus VR headsets in the U.S. and Canada. Meta is working on a version for mobile devices, and fans could see it on game consoles in the future as well. Horizon Worlds currently has over 10,000 worlds.
“Calling all creators. Welcome to Horizon Worlds, a social experience where you can create in extraordinary ways. In Worlds, you’re not just a visitor. You’re a part of what makes it great,” Meta says.
Creators retain the intellectual property rights to their work, so the agreement between the creators and Meta is essentially a licensing agreement.
It is hard to reconcile what Zuckerberg said in November with what Meta is currently doing. How can he openly criticize Apple for their revenue share percentage when Horizon Worlds’ creators are giving Meta way more than that? The revenue share is ridiculously high and does not provide any incentive to creators to build for the Horizon Worlds platform when they are giving away nearly half of their money when they are doing all the work. While a nice monetization option, the bonuses are so vague that it would be hard for a creator to work toward. Are the goals for each creator different? Do they need a certain number of players or level of engagement to qualify? Is this bonus structure transparent or do the creators just have to trust that Meta will pay them fairly? The concept behind Horizon Worlds is fascinating, but it feels more like Meta is taking advantage of the creators rather than supporting their growth and the expansion of the metaverse.