Almost two years into a private beta test, Meta has made Horizon Worlds available to all adults above 18 in the US and Canada.
Meta is opening up access to its social VR space Horizon Worlds, after almost two years as a private beta. Since late last week, adults in the US and Canada have been able to access the free Quest app from their Facebook accounts and without the need to have an invite.
Horizon Worlds, previously known simply as Horizon, is Meta’s first attempt at realizing Mark Zuckerberg’s vision of the Metaverse, an expansive, multiplayer platform and a mix between Roblox and the OASIS VR world from Ready Player One. The VR platform lets users hang out in the space with up to 20 people at a time.
Horizon Worlds, a project initially meant to create Minecraft-like games before shifting its focus to socialization, is the company’s first major release in metaverse-related products since Facebook renamed itself Meta and announced its plans to “build the metaverse” of connected digital worlds.
Users are free to build their own mini-games and activities within the app. However, unlike other play-to-earn metaverse platforms, Horizon Worlds will not provide a way for users to make money directly from their work via a local currency. Meta has instead offered a $10 million creator fund to bring competition rewards for top community creators.
Horizon Worlds is free for players using Meta’s own Oculus Quest 2 headset. Anyone aged 18 and over can create a floating legless avatar to begin exploring and creating in VR, building objects, and attaching optional behaviors to them.
Although Meta requires a basic knowledge of coding to bring objects to life, it has been helping players create script blocks and is also planning on releasing a free library from which users can select their moving and responding objects. Coding for script blocks is currently done entirely in VR, but Meta also lets users carry out the function from their desktops.
“Our vision for Horizon Worlds is to bring to life a creator-friendly VR space with best-in-class social world-building tools,” Meta said in its announcement. “And we’ve spent the past year developing those tools and improving them based on creator feedback.”
According to Meta, the platform has “thousands of worlds built already” during the invite-only beta, including shooting games, river cruises, a magical flying broomstick world, and platforming games, among many other ideas.
Meta is also planning on tying Horizon Worlds into Horizon Venues, a standalone experience for throwing large events in VR, and Horizon Workrooms, its VR work collaboration software.