In hopes to engage and attract Horizon Worlds users, Meta is expanding its partnership with the NBA and WNBA to offer 52 live virtual reality (VR) games on its Meta Quest VR headset -- the official headset of the NBA.
In addition, Meta will also offer a selection of WNBA, NBA G League, and NBA 2K League games. Users logged into Horizon Worlds will be able to access game highlights, recaps and archival content.
In fact, Horizon Worlds’ own NBA Arena is now open to Meta Quest users. There, they can watch NBA content with friends, compete in interactive minigames and support their favorite teams.
With an NBA League Pass subscription, fans, according to Meta, will be able to watch even more content in the app in the future.
But wait, there’s more! As part of the ongoing partnership, Meta is launching NBA-licensed apparel for players’ avatars. Users will be able to purchase NBA and WNBA apparel for their avatars over the coming weeks and showcase it across Meta’s suite of platforms––Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and, of course, Horizon Worlds.
The Quest became the NBA’s official headset in 2020. Despite this recent announcement about VR game access and avatar offerings etc., it’s hard to understand why the NBA would expand its partnership with Meta now.
Not only was Meta’s VR headset the third in line for NBA’s official partner for virtual game broadcasting, but Horizon Worlds hasn’t lived up to the hype (thus far, at least).
With an original goal of onboarding 500,000 users to the platform by the end of 2022, Horizon Worlds peaked at 300,000 (according to Meta’s estimates) -- a number The Wall Street Journal downgraded as being closer to 200,000, a whopping one-third less.
I understand the NBA wanting to saddle up to emerging technology and engage fans in a more immersive way, which could potentially be lucrative if fans buy the League pass as well as digital apparel. but it seems like a losing bet on Meta and basketball fanatics.
Not only is there a lack of users hanging out in Horizon Worlds, but the Quest Pro is pricey: It costs $1,500. Furthermore, game developers aren’t impressed, with almost half of those surveyed by the Game Developers Conference saying that “the metaverse concept will never deliver on its promise.”
As for developers who do believe in the metaverse, they strongly believe Meta CEO Zuckerberg won’t be the one to make it happen.