Meta targets the Chinese VR Market with It Revamps Horizon Worlds Metaverse

After Tencent’s suspension of its metaverse plans, Facebook parent Meta is said to be in talks with Tencent about distributing its Meta Quest VR headset to China.
According to Reuters, Meta has resumed talks with Tencent about a distribution deal in recent weeks, following a preliminary discussion in 2022.
The Quest VR headset would be competing directly with Pico, a headset made by Tencent competitor ByteDance, if Tencent partners with Meta. ByteDance is the company behind the popular short video-sharing social media app TikTok, which competes directly against Meta’s Instagram or Facebook.
Pico took 15% of Meta’s VR headset market share in Q3 2022. Meanwhile, Meta Quest headset sales dropped 48% year-on. Pico, which has around 200 apps, is still learning its way. The Facebook parent made more than a million dollars with its app store, which now boasts at least 400 apps. Pico, which was acquired by ByteDance in 2012, shifted its focus away from business applications like Microsoft HoloLens and to consumer headsets that have been very popular in Europe.

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Tencent, a company known for its gaming prowess has recently stopped plans to develop metaverse-related extended reality technology. According to reports, the 300-member team was advised to find work elsewhere as the metaverse plans were not in line with the firm’s long term vision.
Horizon Worlds, Meta’s flagship metaverse application, is being redesigned to target and retain users 13-17 years old after January engagement figures revealed a 11% weekly user retention rate.
The social media giant has enlisted other studios to create 20 unique Horizon Worlds metaverse experience, of which one it hopes will be extremely popular. It also plans to bring 2-D metaverse experiences on mobile and increase monthly users of the metaverse to 150,000 by 2023. It is also looking to integrate Horizon Worlds and WhatsApp as part of its metaverse expansion. WhatsApp has 100 million users who have already created avatars in the metaverse.

Use @WhatsApp to express yourself with avatars. Choose from billions of combinations of hair styles , facial features and outfitsto share how you’re feeling with friends and family.– Meta (@Meta) December 7, 2022
Meta’s metaverse-focused Reality Labs division revenue fell 17% in Q4 2022. In response to the loss of users from Instagram and Facebook, Meta introduced a Meta Verified subscription service. This allows users to verify their accounts against national registries.
After users complained about fake accounts, this new product was created. It will be $11.99 for users who sign up via a web browser. Those who sign up through the Android or Apple app stores will pay $14.99. Subscribers will have access to fast customer service.
Meta was criticized for its products targeting teens following a damning study that found Instagram contributed to teenage suicide rates. This may make Meta’s market pivot to a younger audience controversial.
The U.S. regulators remain largely silent on the matter of regulating metaverse. However, European lawmakers signalled their intention to do so in a letter published in September 2022.
Ursula von der Leyen, president of the EU Commission, stated last year that the bloc would present a “initiative on virtual realms” in 2023.
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