Facebook has announced a $10 million Creator Fund to encourage people to build experiences on its Horizon VR platform, which it is now calling Horizon Worlds. Although Horizon Worlds is still in beta, the company clearly wants to get more people making content for the platform to offer more experiences that could be interesting to users.
The funds will be given out “over the next year” in three main buckets:
- A series of community competitions to build “the very best worlds in Horizon.” Facebook will give up to $10,000 in cash for the top three entrants in the competitions.
- A Creator Accelerator Program that’s “designed to give people from diverse backgrounds an advanced crash course in Horizon Worlds creation.” Facebook finished a pilot of the program in September and will accept applications in November for the next iteration of the program, which will launch in “early” 2022.
- Funding for developers who are interested in making “experiences for Horizon in a particular theme.”
The Creator Fund could help Facebook in its big bet on virtual worlds. The company has invested heavily in its Oculus VR headsets and ecosystem, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said he wants people to eventually see Facebook as “a metaverse company.” One example of what that could look like is Facebook’s Horizons Workrooms app, which is designed to be a VR meeting room for work.
But as Facebook is racing to build out Horizon Worlds and get people to create content for it, it faces stiff competition from other metaverse makers like Epic Games (the developer of Fortnite) and Roblox — which both also rely heavily on user-created content.
While Facebook’s Creator Fund is a positive step toward ensuring creators get paid for building virtual experiences, I’m hoping the company invests significantly more in creators down the line. I suspect it has the ability to; the $10 million put toward the fund is a drop in the bucket compared to the more than $10 billion Facebook earned in profit in its second quarter. Otherwise, Horizons could turn into yet another platform where creators are fighting for scraps while its owner reaps the rewards.