Horizon Worlds

What Is Horizon Worlds?


A Normative Critique of Modern Horizon Worlds 

Horizon Worlds is a free virtual reality online video game developed and released by Meta Platforms for the Oculus Rift S and Oculus Quest 2 with an integrated game creation system. After an invite-only beta period, it was available to people aged 18 and over in the United States and Canada on December 9, 2021. 

Gameplay 

The game requires an Oculus Rift S or Oculus Quest 2 virtual reality headset and uses complete 3D motion via the headset’s motion capture system as well as two hand-held motion controllers to interact with game items. Within the limitations of their actual floor-space, players can explore the space surrounding them while roaming beyond.

Within the limitations of their actual floor-space, players can explore the space around them while wandering further by utilizing controller buttons to teleport a short distance or move constantly across the virtual space. Portals to highlighted user-generated worlds, which are produced by gamers utilizing an integrated game development system, can be found in the hub world. 

Development 

Horizon Worlds was inspired by Facebook’s previous social VR apps, which focused more on user-generated content than current more sophisticated apps. 

At the Oculus Connect 6 conference in September 2019, Facebook launched Facebook Horizon as a new social virtual environment. 

Facebook stated in August 2020 that additional people will be granted access to an invite-only test phase. In a January 2021 interview with Scott Stein, Facebook Reality Labs head Andrew Bosworth admitted that the experiences in Facebook Horizon are not yet ready for public consumption, but expressed concern that “if you don’t have…. something driving a lot of people to the place, then you run the risk they won’t get it.” 

Horizon Workrooms, a collaboration program aimed at teams managing remote work settings, was introduced in open beta by Facebook in August 2021. 

For up to 50 individuals, the software includes virtual meeting rooms, whiteboards, and video call integration. 

Facebook changed the name of Facebook Horizon to Horizon Worlds on October 7, 2021. After an invite-only beta period, the game was made available to those aged 18 and up in the United States and Canada.

On December 9, 2021, the game was released in the United States and Canada to persons aged 18 and up after an invite-only beta period. 

A beta user claimed being groped on Horizon Worlds on November 26, 2021, and that other users supported the behavior. 

Users will be able to adjust the size of this barrier in the future, according to plans. The border function is similar to typical features in rival platforms such as VRChat and Rec Room, with the addition of the ability to disable and adjust the size of the boundary. 

Mark Zuckerberg said in 2022 that a mobile phone version of Horizon Worlds would be released later that year. While writing for Ars Technica, Sam Machovech drew comparisons between Rec Room and VRChat.

Machovech pointed out that Facebook’s idea to allow staff to welcome new users differs from that of other social virtual worlds. “Aybe Horizon is better than whatever Oculus had before,” wrote Scott Stein for CNET, but he also noted that “there are a number of social VR problems Horizon left unresolved.” 

In an article for Newsweek, David H. Freedman predicted that Facebook’s knowledge of users’ online behavior “would explode when someone slips on a Facebook headset,” attempting to answer some of these questions. Facebook’s public ambitions to add face and eye tracking in future headsets reinforce this forecast. Freedman speculated that Facebook could use this information to generate advertising revenue through ads that appear throughout Facebook Horizon and “might appear as billboards, signage, skywriting, computer-generated characters hawking goods and services, logos embedded in objects and surfaces, and any other form that can be crammed into any nook or cranny of fake reality,” according to Freedman. Horizon Worlds was also described as “less of a virtual utopia, and more of a glitchy, incomplete cluster of experiences” by TheGamer, who also criticized the platform’s current lack of safety features and poor management of misinformation and hate speech, describing it as a “corporate reality that only investors and venture capitalists are seeking.” Of course, it’s just another place for him to escape to until he discovers a new, imagined frontier to explore. 

The Washington Post reported in February 2022 that there are concerns about children using Horizon Worlds despite the 18-year-old age requirement, claiming that it could lead to the platform being used by sexual predators for child grooming, while also noting that the platform currently lacks parental controls and has been criticized for alleged lax moderation in preventing underage users from using it. 

Userbase 

In February 2022, Meta announced that Horizon Worlds and Horizon Venues had a combined monthly userbase of 300,000 individuals, that 10,000 unique worlds had been created in Horizon Worlds to date, and that its private Facebook group for creators had a total monthly userbase of 300,000 people.

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