Facebook is opening up Horizon Worlds, its virtual reality world of avatars in the United States and Canada. It was launched in beta last year to Oculus VR users aged 18 years and above. Horizon Worlds was initially launched in 2019 as Facebook Horizon. Since then, the social media giant has changed its name to Meta and Facebook Horizon is now called Horizon Worlds.
Horizon Worlds is a social VR platform where users can build experiences with and for each other. According to Meta’s blog post, the VR is the company’s first big project that is build on a foundation with many of the same ideas – like having a shared identity across interconnected, immersive experiences where you can spend time with friends.
It can fit up to 20 players in a single space, depending upon the complexity of the scene; creators can reduce the total player count in order to add more geometry, animation, logic etc. A noted update is that users can use the latest Oculus Avatar system, which replaces the previous proprietary avatar system. When users load into Horizon Worlds, they will automatically appear the avatar that they have already configured in their headset.
Facebook acquired Oculus for $2 billion in 2014 and has since struggled, as per a CNBC report, to get market traction beyond a niche audience. The company has made building technologies, products and services for the metaverse a central focus. Mark Zuckerberg, Meta CEO, in July had announced the formation of a team that would work on the metaverse. Then in September, it elevated Andrew Bosworth to the role of chief technology officer, starting 2022. In its third-quarter earning results in October, the social media company said it would break out the Reality Labs hardware division into its own reporting segment in the fourth quarter. It said the company will also spend about $10 billion over the next year developing technologies to build the metaverse.