Meta opens the doors to the first bits of its metaverse to the public

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Facebook’s parent company Meta promises a gradual arrival of the metaverse with various apps and extensions. On Thursday, the company opened access to the North American public to Horizon Worlds, its free platform for virtual reality (VR) video games. The latter also integrates a system for creating games and virtual worlds.

Horizon Worlds, the firstborn of the Metaverse project featured in particular in the famous introductory video posted in October, is already finding a following. Intrigued or passionate users, YouTubers and gamers, have already embarked on the adventure. If the platform was available in trial version since last year, it was only intended for a limited number of users.

As we knew, and especially since certain test videos show us that jet here and there on the web, Horizon Worlds is far from being the fully immersive metaverse that is finally promised to us. However, users of Meta’s virtual reality headsets (Oculus Quest or Oculus Quest 2) located in the US and Canada can now meet up with friends or strangers in a captivating virtual environment, play games, and build their own virtual worlds. .

Equipped with the Oculus Quest 2 VR device, youtuber OtterWorldly plays a zombie minigame with friends, integrated into Horizon Worlds. © OtterWorldly (YouTube)

According to Meta, Horizon Worlds users have already created thousands of worlds in the app since the beta version was released last year. The company hopes to attract a large number of users today, and the goal seems strategic: to somehow exploit its construction work to start enriching this first piece of metaverse for free.

Towards the metaverse in complete safety?

It was in October that Facebook changed the name of its parent company Meta. The objective is, without a doubt, to underline its ambition to move from a “simple” social media platform to a universe built on virtual reality and augmented in the long term (the metaverse that it promises us), but it is also to protect the parent company that there behind. all this technology from the repercussions of scandals generated by Facebook, in particular with regard to the confidentiality and security of user data.

In fact, Meta’s platforms, namely Facebook and Instagram (and to a lesser extent WhatsApp), have struggled for years to put a veritable “data crisis” behind them.

The latest scandal, however, was sparked in September 2021 by internal studies leaked to US journalists and authorities by whistleblower Frances Haugen. Haugen pointed out in particular the workings of the algorithm used to orchestrate Facebook’s news feed, which would still encourage hateful posts for the purpose of enriching the platform (through ads).

A better future for Meta?

“We want Horizon Worlds to be a safe and respectful environment, so everyone must follow our policy of driving in virtual reality,” said Meta when announcing the launch of Horizon Worlds. “You have several security options […] that allow you to pause and then block, silence or mark people, “he added. A particularly neat entrance, which smells of experience …

The launch comes shortly after Facebook introduced a virtual reality platform for work, called Horizon Workrooms (which will be integrated into its professional WorkPlace solution). Workrooms enable remote collaboration for people using your Oculus VR equipment, including VR conferences in the form of avatars. Of course, it is possible to switch to a standard online conference if necessary.

Even as Meta has just announced its ultra-ambitious metaverse project, the company with the infinity logo already seems ready to show the first few bits without too much fear of the risk of disappointment from the public. This suggests one thing: He has been hard at work on the project for years and appears to have announced the Meta conversion when the first finalized version of Horizon Worlds was ready for release.

Oculus Horizon Worlds Introductory Video:

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