Facebook parent Meta set to take nearly 50% cut from virtual sales — and Apple is calling it out

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Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc.’s intent to take a nearly 50% cut of digital asset sales within its emerging metaverse is drawing widespread criticism from developers and longtime nemesis Apple Inc.

Meta FB, +1.29% said in a blog post Monday it is allowing a handful of Horizon Worlds creators to sell virtual assets that could eventually include NFTs. Virtual-reality platform Horizon Worlds is considered an integral piece of Meta’s unfolding metaverse.

The company said it will take up to 47.5% on each transaction, which includes a “hardware platform fee” of 30% via its Meta Quest Store, as well as a 17.5% cut on Horizon Worlds.

“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, Meta’s vice president of Horizon, told The Verge.

But Meta’s plan immediately drew blowback from developers — who pointed out NFT marketplace OpenSea takes a 2.5% cut of each transaction while LooksRare charges 2% — and some pointed comments from antagonist Apple AAPL, +2.54%.

“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,” Apple spokesman Fred Sainz said in an email to MarketWatch. “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.”

Meta Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has blasted Apple for charging developers 30% for in-app purchases on the App Store. “As we build for the metaverse, we’re focused on unlocking opportunities for creators to make money from their work,” he said in November. “The 30% fees that Apple takes on transactions make it harder to do that, so we’re updating our subscriptions product so now creators can earn more.”

Underscoring the reaction of developers, Blockparty CEO Vladislav Ginzburg told MarketWatch: “Facebook keeps all media uploaded to it, retains all user data and owns every step of the process to sell to marketers. Rather than enable creators to share in the value they bring to Facebook, their goal is to take half of the sale. No thanks.”


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