Horizon Worlds (formerly Facebook Horizon) is a virtual reality, online video game with an integrated game creation system developed and published by Meta Platforms for Microsoft Windows and Oculus Quest (2). It is currently in an invite-only beta phase.
|Platform(s)||Microsoft Windows and Oculus Quest|
|Genre(s)||Game creation system, massively multiplayer online|
The game may be played with an Oculus Rift (S) or Oculus Quest (2) virtual reality headset and uses full 3D motion via the motion capture system of the headset and two hand-held motion controllers, which are required to interact with objects in the game. Players can explore the space around them within the confines of their physical floor-space, while roaming further by using controller buttons to teleport a short distance or to move continuously through the virtual space. The hub world (also known as “plaza”) includes portals to featured user-generated worlds, which are created by players using an integrated game creation system.
The development of Horizon Worlds (formerly called Facebook Horizon) followed earlier social VR apps by Facebook (Oculus Rooms, Oculus Venues, and Facebook Spaces) and focused more on user-generated content than these earlier apps. Facebook announced Facebook Horizon as a new social virtual world at the Oculus Connect 6 conference in September 2019. In August 2020, Facebook announced that more users will receive access to an invite-only beta phase. In an interview with Scott Stein in January 2021, Facebook Reality Labs head Andrew Bosworth conceded that the experiences in Facebook Horizon are not ready for the public and expressed concern that “[i]f you don't have … something driving a lot of people to the place, then you run the risk they're not going to get it.” On 7 October 2021 Facebook changed the name Facebook Horizon to Horizon Worlds.
In August 2021, Facebook released the open beta of Horizon Workrooms, a collaboration app targeted at teams managing remote-work environments. The app offers virtual meeting rooms, whiteboards and video call integration for up to 50 people.
When Horizon Worlds was first announced in 2019 under the name Facebook Horizon, Josh Constine writing for TechCrunch compared it to other social virtual worlds such as Second Life, The Sims, AltspaceVR, Dreams, Roblox, as well as the fictional “OASIS” described in the novel Ready Player One, while Sam Machovech writing for Ars Technica emphasised similarities to Rec Room and VRChat. Machovech noted a key difference to other social virtual worlds in Facebook's plan to let employees welcome new users. Scott Stein writing for CNET agreed that “[m]aybe Horizon is better than whatever Oculus had before”; however, he also observed that “there are a lot of social VR questions Horizon leaves unanswered”.
David H. Freedman writing for Newsweek tried to answer some of these questions by predicting that Facebook's knowledge about users' online behavior “will explode when someone straps on a Facebook headset”. This prediction is supported by Facebook's public plans to include face and eye tracking in future headsets. Freedman speculated that Facebook could use this knowledge to generate advertising revenue with ads that permeate 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.” Similarly, Cathy Hackl writing for Forbes observed that in Facebook Horizon “relating to a target audience isn't through ads (text, image, or video). It's becoming part of a customer's world and presenting a brand or business as a real being they can interact with in a natural way.”
- Holt, Kris (September 25, 2019). "Social VR world 'Facebook Horizon' comes to Oculus in 2020". Engadget. Retrieved March 21, 2021.
- Hardawar, Devindra (August 27, 2020). "Inside Facebook Horizon, a social VR playground". Engadget. Retrieved March 21, 2021.
- Stein, Scott (January 14, 2021). "Facebook has VR plans for your virtual office, with smart glasses coming soon". CNET. Retrieved March 23, 2021.
- "Facebook Rebrands Social VR Platform As Horizon Worlds".
- "Facebook launches VR remote work app, calling it a step to the 'metaverse'". CNBC. August 19, 2021. Retrieved August 25, 2021.
- "Introducing 'Horizon Workrooms': Remote Collaboration Reimagined". www.oculus.com. Retrieved August 25, 2021.
- Constine, Josh (September 25, 2019). "Facebook announces Horizon, a VR massive-multiplayer world". TechCrunch. Retrieved March 23, 2021.
- Machovech, Sam (September 26, 2019). "Facebook's new VR chat app will throw paid staffers at "on-boarding" trolls". Ars Technica. Retrieved March 23, 2021.
- "Facebook to create VR world called Horizon". BBC News. September 27, 2019. Retrieved March 23, 2021.
- Stein, Scott (October 6, 2019). "I tried Facebook's vision for the social future of VR, and it's full of question marks". CNET. Retrieved March 23, 2021.
- Freedman, David H. (December 23, 2020). "Facebook's Plan to Dominate Virtual Reality—And Turn Us into 'Data Cattle'". Newsweek. Retrieved March 23, 2021.
- Robertson, Adi (March 8, 2021). "Mark Zuckerberg says realistic avatars are Facebook's next big VR bet". The Verge. Retrieved March 26, 2021.
- Hackl, Cathy (August 30, 2020). "Social VR, Facebook Horizon And The Future Of Social Media Marketing". Forbes. Retrieved March 23, 2021.