Facebook’s Metaverse No Longer Has Facebook Branding
Facebook has removed its branding from its metaverse/social VR project Horizon which is still in development. The company will be focusing its efforts on the VR-based building tools and is offering a $10 million grant to encourage VR creators to create worlds on the platform.
The Facebook Horizon will now be known as Horizon Worlds. Facebook has also removed support for the Unity-based worlds in a bid to encourage creators who build with this engine to opt for an Oculus Store release.
When Facebook Horizon was first launched for Quest in late 2019, it only provided support for the worlds created in Unity which are more complex and engaging than those worlds that were created in VR using Facebook’s tools. Unity is currently the most popular game development engine. Rec Room, Roblox, and Epic Games are also in a race to develop powerful but easy-to-use tools for building interactive 3D virtual worlds. Facebook has tried to acquire Unity in the past which would have provided it with a robust toolset and pushed many creators to work with the social network giant. Rather than sell, Unity went public in the stock market in late 2020.
Facebook introduced the social VR app two years ago as “Facebook Horizon”. An alpha test of the metaverse began just before the pandemic set in while the Horizon Beta phase has been running since August 2020 where users can only participate by registering and being invited.
Creatives have so far developed numerous virtual worlds with the tools in Horizon. Facebook has also improved the corresponding tools.
Following the name change, the Horizon Workroom remote working VR app that was introduced in August will also dispense with Facebook branding. The same approach was applied to the recently unveiled data glasses Ray-Ban Stories where a user can only tell that this is a Facebook product from the packaging but the product itself does not bear any Facebook branding.
New Tools and Worlds in Development
In the Oculus blog, Facebook has provided an insight into the development of Horizon Worlds since the beginning of the beta phase a year ago. The social networking giant also announced a new $10 million grant for world builders.
In Facebook’s upcoming social VR hub Horizon Worlds, all the rooms and worlds have been created using the tools provided by the VR app. The Environments created with Unity are no longer supported.
Last year, Facebook improved its tools based on previous feedback enabling creators to create more complex worlds using simpler means. For this purpose, the user interfaces and interactions of the tools were revised and scripts have been added that can be used to create new game mechanics.
Various new features along with project templates and a hub are planned for the future where both beginners and advanced users can find tutorials for the world building kit.
Facebook Investing in Metaverse Creators
To motivate existing creators and attract new ones, Facebook is offering a $10 million grant. The funding is to be distributed over the course of next year in the form new and old funding initiatives.
A series of competitions are scheduled to start this year where the best three world makers will be awarded $10,000 each.
Facebook worked closely with select studios as well as creators to explore the possibilities of Horizon Worlds and supported their work financially. This type of funding is set to continue. A start-up program for new creators will also be continued with a new round set to begin in early 2022. To take part in Horizon Worlds, register on the official website.
It is not yet known when Horizon Worlds will be open to the general public. Perhaps, we might see an announcement during the Facebook Connect 2021.