Meta comes under fire for charging for VR apps needed for metaverse push

Meta has come under fire from VR app developers for imposing charges on apps created for its virtual reality (VR) headset.

The social media giant has pledged $10 billion a year over the next 10 years on its metaverse vision.

A number of developers have told the Financial Times that they are frustrated on the fact that Meta has instead on a charging model for its VR App Store.

The moves comes despite the company CEO Mark Zuckerberg being critical in the past over policies of charging for apps on existing mobile app stores.

“Don’t confuse marketing with reality — it’s good marketing to pick on Apple. But it doesn’t mean Meta won’t do the exact same thing,” said Infosys Consulting head of AI Seth Siegel told the Financial Times “There is no impetus for them to be better.”

Meta’s “Quest Store” takes a 30% cut from any digital purchase made and charges 15-30% on subscriptions.

Realities.io CEO Daniel Sproll added: “Undoubtedly there are services provided — they build amazing hardware and provide store services.

“But the problem is that it feels like everybody agreed on this 30 per cent and that’s what we’re struck with. It doesn’t feel like there’s any competition,” Sproll told the Financial Times.

“The Chinese companies coming out with headsets are the same. Why would they change it?”

Meta wants to avoid being caged in by rules set in by its Big Tech rivals; Apple and Google by owning the next computing platform.

The tech giant defended the charging policy by saying unlike iPhone users, Quest users are able to install apps outside its officially-branded store through SideQuest, a third-party platform which is less restricted and more experimental.

Meta commented: “We want to foster choice and competition in the VR ecosystem.

“And it’s working — our efforts have produced a material financial return for developers: as we announced earlier this year, over $1 billion has been spent on games and apps in the Meta Quest Store.”

Zuckerberg has heavily criticised Apple’s “monopoly rents” and called out its “unique stranglehold as a gatekeeper on what gets on phones,” referencing the App Store’s approval processes.

Apple hit back at Meta and accused it of “hypocrisy” after the Oculus owner announced that its social VR experience Horizon Worlds would charge a 17.5% ‘platform fee’ on top of the normal 30% for digital purchases.

Apple told the Financial Times: “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.”

Apple is rumoured to launch its own augmented reality (AR) glasses as early as next year.

Microsoft is also developing its own service using its HoloLens VR headset.

Augmented & Virtual RealityMobile & AppsNewsVirtual Reality

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