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Apple Says Steep Horizon Worlds Creator Fees Show Meta's "Hypocrisy"

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Earlier this week Meta announced that it would begin testing tools to let creators sell things for real money in Horizon Worlds and would charge a fee of 47.5% of their earnings. The fee structure seemed at odds with prior comments from Meta which have criticized app store fees from the likes of Apple and Google. Now Apple is accusing the company of hypocrisy.

Following the news this week that Meta planned to take nearly half of a creator’s earnings in Horizon Worlds, Apple didn’t miss the chance to point out that this was coming from a company which has on multiple occasions criticized Apple’s app store fee of 30% (after 15% for the first $1 million in annual revenue).

Speaking to MarketWatch, Apple spokesman Fred Sainz had this to say:

Meta has repeatedly taken aim at Apple for charging developers a 30% commission for in-app purchases in the App Store—and have used small businesses and creators as a scapegoat at every turn. Now, Meta seeks to charge those same creators significantly more than any other platform. [Meta’s] announcement lays bare Meta’s hypocrisy. It goes to show that while they seek to use Apple’s platform for free, they happily take from the creators and small businesses that use their own.

And, well… he isn’t wrong. Just last year Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg not-so-subtly said in a very widely viewed keynote that being subject to the app store fees of Apple and Google had changed the way he viewed the industry, going on to say that he wants his company to take “a different approach” when it comes to its creator platforms.

The last few years have been humbling for me and our company in a lot of ways. One of the main lessons that I’ve learned is that building products isn’t enough. We also need to help build ecosystems so that millions of people can have a stake in the future, can be rewarded for their work, and benefit as the tide rises, not just as consumers but as creators and developers.

But this period has also been humbling because as big of a company as we are, we’ve also learned what it is like to build for other platforms. And living under their rules has profoundly shaped my views on the tech industry. Most of all, I’ve come to believe that the lack of choice and high fees are stifling innovation, stopping people from building new things, and holding back the entire internet economy.

We’ve tried to take a different approach. We want to serve as many people as possible, which means working to make our services cost less, not more. Our mobile apps are free. Our ads business model is an auction, which guarantees every business the most competitive price possible. We offer our creator and commerce tools either at cost or with modest fees to enable as much creation and commerce as possible.

Indeed, those words seemed to fly in the face of Meta’s announcement that it would change creators a fee of 47.5% of their earnings for anything sold through Horizon Worlds. Not to mention that the company has also levied a 30% fee (the same that Apple and others charge) against developers since the very beginning of its VR app store.

Meta’s strongest defense, perhaps, is that Horizon World creator fees aren’t entirely out of line with similar platforms available today, but one must ask why the company wouldn’t want to set a better precedent given its public statements criticizing others for similar behavior.

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