Mark Zuckerberg hopes the metaverse can free his company from its dependence on mobile platforms controlled by others like Apple and Google. Here’s a problem: at least two of the metaverse-like platforms that now exist, Roblox and Rec Room, are finding great success on mobile. That raises the question of whether metaverse aspirants can build tomorrow’s devices and platforms without winning over today’s users where they already are.
In the case of Rec Room—a game platform where users hang out, play games and create new virtual spaces to explore valued at $1.25 billion earlier this year—we know that its user count grew tremendously over the course of the pandemic, across mobile, game console and VR platforms (it boasts over 1 million monthly active VR users, many on the Quest 2). A representative of the company told The Information that these growth trends have not started to level off or slow: October 2021 saw Rec Room’s highest year-over-year growth rate for users, with the platform’s community having grown over 400% since the same time last year.