FACEBOOK has taken its first stab at the metaverse after releasing its new adult-only VR initiative, Horizon Worlds, in the U.S. and Canada.
The tech giant, which changed its name to Meta earlier this year, announced the release on Thursday and said you need to be 18+ to enter the virtual world.
Meta officially released Horizon Worlds in the US and Canada on Thursday[/caption]
Horizon Worlds launched in beta last year and was initially only accessible to select Oculus VR users who needed a special invitation to join.
With the announcement on Thursday, the game is now available to download for free via the Quest 2 app in most of North America.
The multiplayer platform, which Meta has described as “a social experience where you can explore, play and create in extraordinary ways,” allows you to hang out with up to 20 people at a time in a virtual environment.
With the help of a Facebook Oculus virtual reality headset, users can create a legless avatar to float around the digital world, play games, and engage with other users.
The fully customizable avatars are made even more lifelike with mouth movements and hand and finger gestures that mimic our own.
As everyone you meet on the app is a real person, Meta has also added some safety features in the hopes of keeping VR harassment to a minimum.
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Some ways they’re hoping to tackle the inevitable issue is by giving users the instant ability to block someone, and by recording the last few minutes of each user’s activity as to human-review the footage whenever someone reports a negative interaction.
Vivek Sharma, Meta’s VP of Horizon Worlds, said one of his goals regarding safety on the app was to make the blocking feature “trivially easy and findable.”
Users are required to have a Facebook account to join the virtual environment.
The public launch of the app follows as Meta faces numerous lawsuits, including one for inciting violence against the Rohingya people in Myanmar.
The move is an important step for Meta, which changed its name in October to better align with its vision of building the metaverse.
When Meta purchased Oculus VR for $2Billion in 2014, the industry was niche, limited to gaming and entertainment.
However, Horizon World, which is the first commercial app to combine VR with social interaction, might bring the technology to the masses.
“Our hope is that within the next decade, the metaverse will reach a billion people, host hundreds of billions of dollars of digital commerce, and support jobs for millions of creators and developers,” Zuckerberg said in a statement in October.
Meta changed its name from Facebook in October to better align with its “metaverse” vision[/caption]
In other news, Samsung is reportedly killing off its beloved Note smartphone after more than a decade.
Apple has announced that it will let customers fix their own iPhones for the first time starting next year.
And the UK is fighting an epidemic of hack attacks targeting consumers and businesses, according to officials.