Meta unveils ‘Horizon Worlds’, the first version of its metaverse

  • VR
  • Monday, 13 Dec 2021

To test Horizon World, you need a Meta VR headset. — AFP Relaxnews

Meta is opening up access to its “Horizon Worlds” VR platform to anyone over the age of 18 in the US and Canada for free. Users with a VR headset will be able to play, walk around and even organise events in the company’s digital universe.

Meta’s metaverse is taking shape. Or at least, this launch of “Horizon Worlds” signifies Meta’s first public attempt in the realm. This vast multiplayer platform, basically built on an environment that resembles Minecraft, a building game with blocks, aims to bring players together through different communities. Sociability and encounters will be at the heart of this project.

During the private beta tests that started back in 2019, thousands of players organised movie nights, comedy shows and meditation sessions. The platform is only available for users of Meta’s headset, the Oculus Quest 1 and 2.

Creativity is also in the spotlight. One can become a virtual creator of digital objects or even of entire lands and environments with the tools developed by Meta.

“Now we can open up and say we have interesting things that people can do,” said Vivek Sharma, Meta’s vice president of Horizon told The Verge. That creativity is one of Meta’s fundamental characteristics.

Redefining the rules

Horizon Worlds allows users to rewrite the code – at least to some extent – so that they can define physical rules themselves, for instance how objects work. At the heart of the process is imagination. Meta uses something called “script blocks”. Each object can thus be given a unique behaviour.

For the moment, Meta employees are the ones behind the scripts and the company plans to release a large free library of them. The American company could even reward creators of objects with in-universe benefits or even money.

Safety and support are key aspects of exploring the universe in a harmonious fashion. As each person is a real person, features enable users to block, mute or report anyone creating disturbances or harassing participants. To better understand the universe, guides specially created by users trained by Meta employees will be available.

While it’s early days, and dipping a toe into this universe requires having a Meta VR headset, it does represent the laying of the first stone of the company’s much-touted, long-awaited metaverse. – AFP Relaxnews

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