A year ago on Friday, Mark Zuckerberg made a big bet on the Metaverse, announcing that it would change the name of the company from Facebook to Meta.

The move cost his company billions of dollars, and it’s easy to allow the panic of “metaverse entrepreneurs” who flocked to the company’s virtual world to make real money.

But some are still not phased.

“It’s been an incredibly positive experience and one of the best of my life,” said the 47-year-old professional comedian and virtual comedy performer last year on Horizon Worlds, Meta’s flagship metaverse platform. says Aaron Sorrels, who founded the club.

According to Meta’s latest quarterly earnings report, the company’s metaverse division has already lost $9.4 billion this year. Zuckerberg said he expects these losses to add up as he continues work to build out the metaverse, even as investor concerns grow over the lack of progress.

Horizon Worlds is reportedly struggling to acquire and retain users. According to The Wall Street Journal, his current monthly active user count is less than 200,000, less than half his goal of 500,000.

On Thursday, CNBC explained Meta’s “surprising collapse.” This marks the company dropping out of the top 20 US companies in corporate valuations amid his third straight quarter of declining earnings. (Meta did not immediately respond to CNBC Make It’s request for comment.)

These dire numbers haven’t dampened the enthusiasm of creators like Sorrels.

‘Good Engagement’ and Trust in Zuckerberg

Horizon Worlds may not have millions of users, but Sorrels says his Soapstone Comedy Club, where amateurs and professionals perform daily, has a relatively steady stream of people. I’m visiting

In the club’s final week, Sorrels said he welcomed a total of 15,000 users, who stayed an average of 20 minutes.

“It’s really good engagement and engagement with the club,” he says. ”

Audience members make in-app purchases using Meta’s recently added monetization tools. This includes what the Sorrels call “applause credits.” For $9.99, you can also permanently add your username to Soapstone’s virtual ‘supporter wall’.

Sorrels shares revenue from in-app purchases with Meta. Meta could account for up to nearly 50% of those sales. Performers do not receive cuts, even from the applause credits.

Soapstone is not Sorrels’ main source of income. The Grand Rapids, Michigan-based comedian still puts on a real-life comedy show under the name “The Unemployed Alcoholic.”

However, he makes some money from the Metaverse. Sorrels declined to give exact numbers, but said his minimal expenses mostly included paying developers to help build the virtual experience.

“There’s been an incredible amount of personal investment over time,” he says.

Thanks to one person, Zuckerberg, for making such a promise. This billionaire’s vision of a virtual world and the $10 billion he spent developing the Metaverse in the past year “was absolutely mind blowing,” he says, Sorrels.

“These companies don’t just do it because they think it’s going to be something,” he adds. “They know it’s going to be something, so they do it.”

Live a full-time life in the metaverse

Some earn a full-time living in the Metaverse.

Alexis Dimas, a 37-year-old metaverse creator based in Santa Ana, California, says he joined Horizon Worlds in beta almost two years ago. He says he taught himself how to build “worlds” in virtual games using the platform’s developer toolkit.

Dimas, who is not a computer software developer by profession, has published more than 25 different worlds on Meta’s platform, from a karaoke-style singing competition venue to a venue called “Skybridge,” where virtual avatars walk across tall bridges. It is said that it has opened various worlds to the public. Himalayan mountains.

Each world contains an in-app purchase that goes to both Dimas and Meta. Dimas also advertises being a paid consultant to other Horizon World creators.

The money is enough for his “main source of income,” Dimas said, noting that it covers his rent and typical monthly bills, though he didn’t give exact figures.

He also says he has not personally witnessed the user retention struggles reported on Meta.

“For as long as Horizon Worlds has lost users, I’ve never witnessed or seen it.”

Dimas says he understands some of the other Horizon Worlds criticisms, especially those centered around cartoonish graphics that are seen as inferior to those of other virtual platforms. .

“fact [the avatars] If you don’t have legs or anything, it ruins part of the experience,” he says.

Still, Dimas said he’s optimistic that Meta will continue to improve the experience and that future offerings from the tech giant will attract even more users going forward.

His livelihood depends on it.

Zuckerberg ‘Thanks for your patience’

At Meta’s earnings call on Wednesday, Zuckerberg told investors that Meta could weather the troubles and that its investment in the Metaverse would ultimately pay off.

“We bear the costs because we believe we will see greater returns over time,” he said, adding, “We appreciate the patience and believe that those who invest in us with patience will be rewarded.”

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