In context: A couple days ago, we reported on Meta’s decision to take a whopping 47.5 percent cut of revenue generated through sales of creator-made digital goods in its “Horizon Worlds” VR app. This news amused some since Meta has been a long-time critic of the 30 percent profit split digital storefronts typically demand, arguing that it’s an unnecessarily high figure.
Meta defended its position, saying its cut of the pie is “competitive” in the market. That was confusing since, again, the industry standard here is 30 percent, not anywhere near 50. The news left many wondering whether Meta was backtracking on its stance or simply adopting a “rules for thee, but not for me” approach to revenue splitting.
Whatever Meta’s mindset might’ve been, its tech rivals have wasted no time in calling the social media giant out for its perceived “hypocrisy.” In an email to MarketWatch, Apple spokesman Fred Sainz offered the following statement:
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.
Sainz’s words may come from a place of frustration, but there’s truth to them regardless. Remember, content developers are often why virtual worlds like Horizon Worlds, Roblox, and other platforms thrive. You’d think it would benefit Meta to take a lower commission (for a time, at least) than the industry standard to entice content developers to create for the app. For one reason or another, the company is going the opposite route.
As a refresher, Meta’s 47.5 percent commission isn’t an all-in sum. It combines a 30 percent cut from the Meta Quest Store and a separate 17.5 percent split from Horizon Worlds. Meta’s “competitive rate” claim refers to the fact that Horizon Worlds will eventually be available on other VR platforms, where its cut would only be 17.5 percent from in-app sales.
That distinction won’t matter at all to creators, though, since other VR marketplaces are just as likely to charge the same 30 percent commission as Meta.
Image credit: Medhat Dawoud