Meta Launches Digital Economy Allowing Users to Sell Virtual Goods for its VR Game

The metaverse may yet be years away in terms of functionality, but that hasn’t stopped Meta (nee Facebook) rolling out the first stages of a new digital economy to underpin its role in that brave new world.

The social media behemoth is already testing features that will enable creators to make money trading virtual items and effects in the company’s virtual reality (VR) game, Horizon Worlds.

According to Meaghan Fitzgerald, Horizon’s product marketing director, creators will be able to trade anything from virtual accessories to VIP access to their own private zone in the metaverse. American participants in the pilot will also be able to earn bonuses from a US$10 million fund set up by Meta to incentivise creators.

Meta May Pocket up to 50% of Bonus Payouts to Creators

Meta says it will reward creators whose virtual worlds prove especially popular among users with monthly bonus payouts. While that program will not be subject to fees, the virtual items marketplace could see Meta take a cut of up to 50 percent.


As it stands, Meta will take a 25 percent cut of the percentage left after the platform fee; with Meta’s Quest Store charging a 30 percent commission, that leaves creators with slightly over half the sale price for each item. Meta evidently thinks that’s a fair thing:

We think it’s a pretty competitive rate in the market. We believe in the other platforms being able to have their share.

Vivek Sharma, VP of Horizon Worlds, Meta

That said, Meta considers Apple’s 30 percent take rate as “too aggressive” for the iPhone ecosystem and has intentionally lowered its mobile rate for certain in-app purchases.

For more on how Horizon Worlds will work, Meta has helpfully supplied a video (see below) featuring VR versions of CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his Horizon team of creators. Try not to be disconcerted by the fact that each avatar only exists from the waist up, yet they require virtual stools to “sit” on:

Amid all this talk of virtual worlds, Zuckerberg announced earlier this month that Meta is exploring the creation of non-blockchain-based virtual currencies, which employees have internally dubbed “Zuck Bucks“. We can now perhaps see where he’s going with this idea.

Phil Stafford

Phil Stafford

Phil is a long-standing Australian journalist with specialised experience in business, finance, travel and popular culture.

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