Meta misses the mark with Foo Fighters VR concert - Main 1

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Last night’s Foo Fighters VR concert could have been the metaverse spectacle we were promised—it is just a shame not everyone was there to see it

Quick read

➨ Horizon Venues reportedly suffered from a poor onboarding experience, lobby crashes and, perhaps worst of all, capacity issues
➨ The 40-minute pre-recorded concert, directed by music video director Mark Romanek, was supposed to bring new audiences to Horizon Venues
➨ “Unprecedented” demand was blamed

The story

Foo Fighters held their Super Bowl LVI virtual reality (VR) concert in Horizon Venues last night. The show was Meta’s first opportunity to show us what a consumer metaverse could do since Connect, but the results were far from satisfactory for many who tried to attend.

Despite heavy marketing and media coverage—not forgetting the global popularity of both Foo Fighters and the Super Bowl—Horizon Venues reportedly suffered from a poor onboarding experience, lobby crashes and, perhaps worst of all, capacity issues.

The 40-minute pre-recorded concert, directed by music video director Mark Romanek, was supposed to bring new audiences to Horizon Venues, the home of Meta’s music, TV, movie and other ‘passive’ VR entertainment.

Shot with multiple 180° cameras positioned around the stage specifically for VR, the concert featured a custom stage design, practical effects, sophisticated lighting programs, and “XR elements” blended into the concert scene.

The concert also offered the opportunity to socialise in real time with friends and family, both inside the Horizon Venues lobby and Worlds-hosted football-themed games and experiences.

Live streams of the concert were also made available on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger for those uninterested in seeing it in VR.

Voices of VR podcast host Kent Bye has an excellent Twitter thread of his experience, which began with being unable to join the event until after it started. He also offers insights into the production itself, with a positive review of the immersive experience provided by VR.

But worst of all, tens of thousands of people reportedly registered an interest in attending the VR concert yesterday evening, but only around 13,000 actually managed to ‘get in’. Meta acknowledged the issue on Twitter and promised to show replays from today.

In a response to a question from UploadVR’s Harry Baker, Vivek Sharma, vice president of Horizon at Meta, acknowledged the issues in his own Twitter post on the concert, blaming demand: “Sorry about this. Our teams are working on it—the demand was unprecedented.”

“Another showing just started and there are more airing tomorrow. We’re making sure everyone who wants to watch it can get in.”

It is disappointing to see a heavily promoted event billed as the beginning of Meta’s metaverse fail in this way, particularly given the high level of interest in seeing it succeed.

With Mark Zuckerberg trailing the potential of digital apparel to investors and analysts as of interest to big brands such as the NFL and a reason for them to begin playing the metaverse game, Meta will have to take all of the feedback onboard and work on making the next blockbuster Horizon Venues event a success.

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Images: Meta

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