Meta has announced that it’s making its Horizon Worlds VR creation and interaction platform available to all users in the US and Canada, which will serve as a key introduction to VR for many new Meta VR users who are set to find a headset under the Christmas tree this year.
As explained by Meta:
“Horizon Worlds is a social VR experience where you can create and explore together. Since launching as an invite-only beta last year, we’ve been amazed by the community that’s begun to form and inspired by the unique experiences they’ve built.”
As you can see in the video, Horizon Worlds is kind of like the main city in The Lego Movie, where users can build whatever they like, and invite others to join in the experience. There are also various applications and options within Horizon where you can meet with friends and hang out, or play games, take quizzes, etc.
Though no legs. Legs are not welcome in the metaverse, at least at this stage.
The expansion of access to Horizon Worlds comes at a key time, with sales of Quest 2 headsets already three times higher than previous VR devices, based on estimates. Last month, Qualcomm, which provides chips for Quest units, said that Meta had already sold 10 million Quest 2 systems, and while Meta hasn’t provided any official sales figures, the indicators are that many more people are now paying attention to VR, which has likely been boosted by the company’s metaverse-inspired name change.
Given this, it’s expected, as noted, that there’ll be quite a few Quest 2 units encased in festive wrapping paper right now, and with these new users set to come online in the next few weeks, Meta will need to provide compelling experiences, and ideally, social VR tools, to capitalize on that attention.
While AR is set to play a big part in the next stage of digital engagement and interaction, the real, true vision of a fully immersive metaverse, which forms a computer-generated alternate reality, where anything is possible, can really only happen in VR.
That’s the vision Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg showcased back in October at Facebook Connect, when he unveiled the ‘Meta’ name change.
The only way to engage in fully immersive environments like this is via a VR headset, which is another reason why the expansion of Horizon Worlds is significant, and why Meta is keen to get it out there, and get the ball rolling in broader adoption of VR, which will also include new games (Meta’s adding a new ‘Arena Clash’ 3v3 laser tag game today, while other, more advanced games like ‘Grand Theft Auto’ are coming the VR soon) and other experiences.
Eventually, Horizon Worlds could be the next evolution of social media interaction, and as VR adoption increased, so too does the impetus for other people to get their own unit, in order to join their friends in this new experience.
The next stage of digital engagement is coming soon, as is the metaverse and more immersive creative options for connection.
Horizon Worlds is available to download for free on Quest 2 here.