Horizon Worlds, a multiplayer virtual reality hub, opened to adult users in the U.S. and Canada on Thursday. Meta's first metaverse app is two years in the making, operating in invite-only beta in 2020. Accessed through Oculus headsets and a Facebook account, Horizon Worlds is both a gaming and social platform.
Meta, formerly Facebook, announced in July 2021 that it wanted to be a "metaverse company." Thus, the name change, the metaverse product group and the over-$10-billion in metaverse spending. Horizon Worlds is an early representation of its vision of becoming the builder of a 3D embodied internet where people can hang out or where they can work. It can host up to 20 people in one space, and lets users build the worlds and items they want. It's a place you can play laser tag, host movie nights or meditate. The central gathering place is called "the Plaza." The company plans to release more templates for guidance in the future.
Horizon Worlds will have to closely monitor harassment and conduct violations. Behavior is often abhorrent on the internet, but VR particularly is ripe for violating behavior. According to The Verge, one early beta tester said, "Sexual harassment is no joke on the regular internet, but being in VR adds another layer that makes the event more intense. Not only was I groped last night, but there were other people there who supported this behavior which made me feel isolated in the Plaza.”