Facebook Social VR Space ‘Horizon’ Enters Invite-Only Public Beta
Now you can start making your own games and building your own virtual world.
Facebook has been building a multiplayer social VR space known as Horizon for quite some time now. The Horizon VR experience is reminiscent of OASIS from the Ready Player One. It is now ready for the beta.
Facebook announced an invite-only public beta for the app, expanding access to the platform. Interested users can join the beta waiting list for the Horizon VR playground by clicking here.
The public beta will feature new games and environments. Facebook has also launched new sets of tools to help combat abuse on the social VR environment. These will include a safety specialist who will monitor reports of abuse in real time and act on them. The VR platform will also feature a “Personal Safe Zone” where a user will have the powers to mute, block and report abusers and content around them. In case the moderator finds a specific user that is being muted or blocked by other users, the moderators or safety specialists are able to listen in on the VR experiences and review some of the culprit’s recorded world data. If they discover any violations, they can ban the user outright.
Facebook has described its Horizon social VR playground as an “ever-expanding universe of virtual experiences” that have been designed and built by the whole community on the platform. This social VR gathering space allows users to collaborate with their friends, chat and explore the different worlds together. Horizon also allows you to meet up people you don’t know and enter virtual rooms such as a theme park or game shows. The interactions in Horizon happen via virtual avatars and your Oculus ID. The games you play and the activities that you partake of have been built using the platform’s internal tools. In this respect, Horizon is therefore similar to Roblox which has grown popular on the back of user-generated content by allowing its users to build their own experiences. It is a VR social network cum gamespace.
Some early testers have already hopped on into Facebook Horizon and early reports from outlets like Engadget and CNET give us some interesting insight on what beta testers can expect when they get invited to try out the platform. Early testers described how they played simple games like Balloon Bash which is a sort of water balloon shooter. They also took part a game show known as Interdimensional with a concept based on a series of timed escape rooms and puzzles. They also experimented with a flexible creation mode that allows players to build custom environments with 3D shapes and templates.
In itself, Horizon remains a major experiment that gives us a glimpse into the future of online socialization. Facebook, on the other hand, might be looking at using it as a socialization tool at a time when in-person socialization is becoming more difficult, in part due to the pandemic.
Facebook’s Oculus Connect conference has also been renamed Facebook Connect and is scheduled for September 16th and Horizon might just take centerstage during the event which will be streamed online this year.
To join the Horizon waitlist, click here.