Horizon Worlds, Meta's ambitious "metaverse" platform, aims to turn this imagination into reality. It offers users the power to shape and design their social experiences within VR using controllers and a visual scripting system.
Horizon Worlds is Meta's bold attempt to create a digital universe, a place where users can craft and immerse themselves in their own virtual dimensions. It's like building your own theme park where the rules are yours to set. However, this utopian vision had a bumpy start.
In early 2022, the excitement was palpable when Mark Zuckerberg, the face of Meta, promised investors that Horizon Worlds would debut on smartphones that year. Yet, the launch turned out to be more of a no-show than a grand opening.
A look at Meta Horizon Worlds Mobile (running on Pixel 6a) pic.twitter.com/c4eJHJJG7o— Luna (@Lunayian) August 25, 2023
Vishal Shah, Meta's VP responsible for the metaverse, spilled the beans recently. Vishal revealed that the original version of the mobile app leaned too heavily into VR rather than providing a seamless experience for mobile users. They basically hit the reset button and gave the app a makeover to align better with the smartphones.
Good news for eager beavers – you can now join the waitlist to get a taste of Horizon Worlds on your mobile devices. In fact, some lucky folks are already enjoying the early bird access. For instance, a user named Luna shared a sneak peek. According to Luna, they captured footage while exploring Horizon Worlds using the Meta Quest app on their trusty Pixel 6a.
Curious minds wondered: How can you access Horizon Worlds on Android phones? The official FAQ on the registration site clears the air. It states that Android users can hop into the metaverse through the existing Meta Quest app, so there is no need to fuss about downloading a new app. And hold your horses – a web-based version is in the pipeline, too, promising to bring Horizon Worlds closer to web browsers.
Back in the annals of 2022, Meta's CTO, Andrew Bosworth, dropped a tantalizing hint about a web version of Horizon Worlds. The FAQ reveals that iPhone users will have to board the web version train to enter this digital realm. Apple's rulebook frowns upon apps moonlighting as game platforms, a rule that once played spoiler for Xbox streaming on iPhones.
But hold on – using Horizon Worlds on mobile or the web might not be identical to the full-blown VR deal. Accessing user-generated worlds seems to require creators to cater specifically to mobile devices. It's a bit like making sure your cake tastes just as sweet whether you eat it with a fork or a spoon.
The first world to grace the mobile and web versions of Horizon Worlds is Super Rumble, a shooting game crafted by Meta's new first-party studio, Ouro Interactive. This world also gets an extra dose of flair by leveraging the platform's upcoming creator tools, including 3D asset importing and the use of TypeScript, a special coding language.
In a twist that could puzzle even the most seasoned detectives, the avatars on mobile, as seen in Luna's video, show off running legs while they navigate the virtual landscape. Yet, VR players remain legless, despite Meta's earlier announcement that legs were on the horizon (pun intended).
Meta might be riding the tech wave, but a leaked memo from last year paints a different picture. The memo suggests that Horizon Worlds needed help finding its place in the market. While contenders like Rec Room and VRChat consistently clinch top spots in the most popular Quest apps, Horizon Worlds usually finds itself in the middle of the pack.
But wait, Meta isn't throwing in the towel just yet. They're banking on a resurgence by expanding to mobile and web platforms, coupled with an enhancement in the visual quality of the experience. VR and smartphones are as different as apples and oranges, and challenges abound.
As Meta strives to make Horizon Worlds a household name, they're facing stiff competition. Rec Room and VRChat are already thriving on smartphones.