Apple and Second Life criticize Meta for fees for metaverse creators

One of the promises of the “metaverse” is that anyone will be able to create 3D items, worlds and games and sell them to other inhabitants of the metaverse for real money. This plan often includes big, elusive ideas about decentralized blockchain marketplaces, but now we’re talking about the same thing as selling a Dota 2 skin on the Steam Workshop. Someone sends a Dota 2 cosmetic, Valve approves it, and then they share the recipe.

A big question answered this week is what that split will look like for Horizon Worlds, the social VR app from Meta (the company formerly known as Facebook), and it’s not the most inspiring number that future platform builders could hope for.

After fees charged by the Meta Quest Store and Horizon Worlds itself, creators will receive 47.5% of pre-tax income from sales of virtual items and experiences. This according to Business Insiderwho confirmed the math with Meta after the company announced he began testing monetization in Horizon Worlds on Monday.

“If a creator sells an item for $1.00, the Meta Quest Store fee would be $0.30 and the Horizon Platform fee would be $0.17 (25% of the remainder), leaving $0.17 0.53 to the Creator before any applicable taxes,” said a spokesperson for Meta. the publication.

The Meta Quest Store fee refers to a fee for sales made through Meta’s VR app and game marketplace, which used to be called the Oculus Store. (Meta has begun phasing out the original name of the VR company it bought eight years ago in favor of its new metaverse-themed branding.) The second fee, which is 25% of what is left after the platform fee, is charged. by Horizon Worlds itself.

Meta told Business Insider that while the Horizon Worlds fee is paid by anyone selling things from Horizon Worlds, the 30% platform fee varies depending on the platform used to access it, which won’t necessarily be Meta. Quest Store. The company intends to make Horizon Worlds available on mobile devices, for example, and on iPhones, Apple’s 15% to 30% fee would replace the Meta Quest Store fee.

On PC, Steam takes a 30% cut of transactions for most publishers (it’s lower for the biggest earners), while the Epic Games Store is notable for taking just 12%.

Talking to the edge, Meta’s VP of Horizon called Horizon Worlds’ fee structure “quite competitive” and, in fact, can be competitive compared to Valve’s offer to item creators. Team Fortress 2, CS:GO, and Dota 2 cosmetics makers whose items are approved for sale on the Steam Workshop don’t simply pay the 30% Steam platform fee that game publishers typically pay. Valve takes a bigger cut for the privilege of selling items to the mobs that gather in its multiplayer games, and historically it’s been a much bigger cut than Meta plans.

In 2017, a group of Dota Workshop artists said that they collectively earned 25% of the revenue from their item sales, but complained that the compensation changes related to the Dota Battle Pass had effectively reduced their share to 6%. The system has likely changed since then (I asked Valve for details and didn’t get a response), but if it’s close to what the creators of Dota said it was, Meta actually offers a bigger cut.

However, a better comparison for Meta Horizon Worlds is Second life, a long-running, socializing-focused virtual world in which creators can do what Meta is now testing: earn money by creating and selling virtual things. Outside of premium subscriptions and payments for the use of virtual land, Second Life primary rates are extracted when users move money into or out of your virtual economy, and range from 3.5% to 7.5%, says Brad Oberwager, executive chairman of Linden Lab, creator of Second Life.

“I can’t imagine that the nearly 50% Meta share is so motivating for creators,” he told PC Gamer when asked for his opinion on the news, adding that Linden Lab paid creators $86 million in 2021.

I expected Oberwager to criticize Meta’s fee structure: I recently spoke to both he and Second Life founder and strategic consultant Philip Rosedale about the metaverse boom (or possibly the bubble), and both strongly disapproved of Meta’s reliance on data collection and targeted advertising, notorious characteristics of Facebook and Instagram.

“[Meta’s fee] seems like a great way to dissuade creators from really participating in their economy, but frankly, I wouldn’t expect anything less from them,” Rosedale told PC Gamer this week. surveillance loses steam.”

Apple also has problems with Meta. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has criticized Apple’s fees in the past, and the social media empire supported Tim Sweeney and Epic Games when they sued Apple over App Store fees a few years ago. Apple took the opportunity to take its own photos.

“Meta has repeatedly attacked Apple for charging developers a 30% commission for in-app purchases on the App Store – and has used small businesses and creators as a scapegoat at every turn,” said Apple spokesman Fred Sainz. market observation. “Meta now seeks to charge these same creators significantly more than any other platform. [Meta’s] ad reveals Meta’s hypocrisy. It shows that while they seek to use Apple’s platform for free, they happily take it from creators and small businesses that use their own.”

Sought for comment, a spokesperson for Meta told PC Gamer that their fee from the Meta Quest Store is used to offset the cost of their VR devices.

“Our approach is to grow the VR market by shipping affordable devices and [fee] revenue is critical to maintaining an affordable headset retail price,” said Meta. Store spokesperson alone – an achievement that would have been unthinkable on any VR platform just a few years ago.”

Meta CTO Andrew Bosworth alluded to this strategy when he fired at Apple on twittersaying the iPhone maker collects “a significant margin on its devices” in addition to its 30% fee on software sales.

“They’ve capitalized on their market power to further their own business interests, which is a big expense for developers,” Bosworth said.

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