The Wall Street Journal reports that only adults 18 and older can currently join up for Meta’s Horizon Worlds, but that could change very, very soon. As part of its attempts to increase Horizon’s player base and enhance user retention, Meta is apparently opening up its virtual reality social experience to younger gamers between the ages of 13 and 17 as early as this March.
In a memo headed “Horizon 2023 Goals and Strategy,” Gabriel Aul, Meta’s VP for the VR experience, reportedly set the company’s objectives for the first half of 2023. The Journal claims to have seen this information.
According to reports, Aul stated in the memo that in order for Horizon to work, Meta must make sure that these younger users are treated as the “real digital citizens of the metaverse.”
Teens “are already spending time in a variety of VR experiences on Quest, and [the company] wants to ensure that [it] can provide them with a great experience in Horizon Worlds as well, with age-appropriate tools and protections in place,” said Meta spokesperson Joe Osborne, according to the publication.
Osborn made no mention of what protection for young users the experience will provide. The Journal reported in 2021 that Instagram was “damaging for a substantial percentage” of kids, especially teenage girls, according to the company’s own experts.
As a result, Meta put on hold its efforts to create an Instagram for Kids and has subsequently introduced a number of teen safety safeguards for the app. Additionally, it automatically restricted upsetting or delicate content for new users under the age of 16.
Meta hopes to increase Horizon’s monthly active user base from 200,000 to 500,000 in the first half of the year in addition to inviting younger teens. Its goal of a 20 percent retention rate may be more significant at this time.
According to Horizon’s data, only 1 in 9 users returned to the service the following month, or an 11 percent retention rate. By enhancing the service’s dependability and performance and eliminating problems that can interfere with users’ enjoyment, Meta hopes to accomplish those objectives.
In an effort to gain more fans, the firm plans to introduce 20 additional Horizon experiences created by outside studios. Additionally, it appears that it wants to make the VR game much more accessible by releasing a web version by June for mobile and PC.
The web version of the experience has previously been teased by Meta, but the business missed its initial launch deadline last year. The company anticipates having as many as 150,000 monthly cross-screen users of Horizon in the first half of 2023, in addition to launching the web version of the product this year.
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