Meta’s big Metaverse concert was a costly disaster
Meta hired the Foo Fighters for a virtual reality concert. But many were denied entry.
The concert took place on Sunday following the Super Bowl, the football final game. Meta had announced the event a week before.
The concert was recorded in advance and was to be broadcast on Meta’s VR app Horizon Venues. The Metaverse app allows users of a Meta Quest (2) to watch concerts, sporting events and other events together in the form of avatars on a virtual big screen.
The Foo Fighters’ performance was filmed in monoscopic 180-degree footage and enhanced with augmented reality visual effects. Meta marketed the concert as a VR event and simultaneously broadcast a 2D version filmed in parallel on Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger.
Concertgoers faced closed doors
Meta did not allow users to enter the event until a few minutes before the start of the concert. The resulting rush apparently led to an overload of the servers. As a result, the lobby crashed and many visitors were faced with closed doors. Meta’s Metaverse boss apologized on Twitter and spoke of an “unprecedented demand”.
XR podcaster Kent Bye documented the failed event in a Twitter thread. According to Bye, more than 60,000 users had registered for the concert, but only about 13,000 actually showed up.
1/ THREAD covering the @Meta Quest Foo Fighters concert in VR, which had a horrible onboarding experience, the lobby crashed, & LOTS of people could not get in (see responses below).
This pre-recorded concert started at 8:05p but Horizon Venues didn’t even open until 8p & crashed https://t.co/qqgNgQBKh8 pic.twitter.com/JYtCxncP3w
– Kent Bye VoicesOfVR (@kentbye) February 14, 2022
VR events: there’s a lot of catching up to do for meta
Once you finally got inside, the quality of the VR footage left much to be desired. Bye reports low image resolution, awkward perspectives, and prioritization of 2D cameras. As a result, camera people and cranes could be seen wandering through the image, which disturbed the immersion.
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“Meta’s Foo Fighters concert was advertised as a VR event with a backup 2D stream for folks without headsets. But the spatial design & shoot prioritized the 2D version making the VR parts not as immersive as it could have been,” Bye writes, citing a number of successful VR concerts that Meta could take a cue from.
Meta later repeated the concert, but the damage had already been done. According to Forbes columnist Charlie Fink, the fees and production of the Foo Fighters concert cost Meta more than ten million US dollars.