On Thursday, Facebook announced the opening of Horizon Worlds (HW). This is the company’s virtual reality world of avatars where they can interact with one another.
However, Facebook limited the use of the Horizon Worlds to US and Canada users 18 years old and older.
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Horizon Worlds Now Open
Previously, HW was only available in beta to select Oculus VR users. Users can only participate through invitation.
However, Thursday’s announcement opened Horizon Worlds to all American and Canadian adults.
Parent company Meta (formerly Facebook) believes that the opening of HW is key in expanding its virtual presence.
The company changed its name to Meta, based on the sci-fi term metaverse, to describe its vision for existing in a virtual world.
However, Horizon Worlds will require users to wear Oculus virtual reality headsets to explore the environment.
Wearing the VR sets allows users to wander in the animated virtual world. Users can interact with each other and play games.
Oculus VR Headsets Required
While using the Horizon Worlds app is free like Facebook, it requires an Oculus Quest 2 headset. For users with the original Quest headsets, support for Horizon Worlds will continue until January of next year.
Facebook acquired Oculus for $2 billion in 2014. However, the company struggled with getting Oculus products off the ground beyond a niche market. However, the VR sets play a central part in their metaverse creations.
Focus on The Metaverse
Last July, Facebook announced the formation of a team that would focus on working on the metaverse. Two months later, the company announced the promotion of Andrew Bosworth to Chief Technology Officer beginning next year. Previously, “Boz” Bosworth headed the hardware division of Meta.
In addition, Meta also announced during its October earnings call that it will break off its hardware group. The company announced that the Reality Labs hardware division will now have its own reporting segment starting the next quarter.
Meta also said it will spend $10 billion over the next year developing technologies for the metaverse. “Our hope is that within the next decade, the metaverse will reach a billion people, host hundreds of billions of dollars of digital commerce, and support jobs for millions of creators and developers,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote.
High Hopes For Horizon Worlds
Horizon Worlds aims to represent the next step in Meta’s evolution from social media to the metaverse.
Zuckerberg led the efforts to build the metaverse, which is a virtual reality construct aimed to replace the internet.
Users can merge their real lives with their virtual counterparts (avatars). Zuckerberg promised that users can “do almost anything you can imagine.”
For example, he talked about going to virtual concerts with friends, competing with professional athletes, and joining mixed meetings.
Zuckerberg hopes a billion people will use the metaverse within the next decade. More importantly, he hopes that Horizon Worlds will generate hundreds of billions in advertisements and digital commerce opportunities.
Watch OtterWorldly’s video exploring Horizon Worlds – Let’s Explore Meta’s Metaverse!
What’s your take on Horizon Worlds? Are you interested in joining this virtual world?
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