Virtual Reality holds the potential for a ton of applications. So far, we’ve mostly experienced many technical exposures, but one thing we’ve yet to tap into is VR social experiences.
So Facebook lately announced its own Ready Player On Oasis which will launch in 2020, named as Facebook Horizon will be a large, virtual reality multiplayer game. It is a virtual reality sandbox universe where you can build your own environments and games, play and socialize with friends or just explore the user-generated landscapes. This is Facebook’s take on Second Life by creating metaverse.
In this Facebook Horizon, you will be allowed to design your own diverse avatars and hop between virtual locales through portals called Telepods, watch movies and consume other media with friends and play Multiplayer games together, like wing strikers. It also will include human guides, known as Horizon Locals, who can give you assistance and protect your safety in the VR world so trolls can’t run rampant.
There will also be a special feature you can toggle with a shield button. This immediately dips you into your personal space, that you can lock down as securely as you want, so no one else can appear there. There will also be traditional tools like muting, blocking and reporting.
At first glance, Horizon seems like a modernized Second Life, a first-person sim, a fulfilment of the intentions of AltspaceVR and a competitor to PlayStation’s PSVR Dreams and cross-platform kid’s favourite Roblox. Back in 2016, Facebook has given every new Oculus employee a copy of the Ready Player One novel. It seems they’ve been busy building that world since then.
Facebook Horizon will start centralized around a town square. Before people step in, they can choose how they look and what they wear from an expensive and inclusive set of avatar tools. From inside VR, the user will be able to use the Horizon World Builder to create gaming arenas, vacation chill spots and activities to fill them without the need to know how to code.
You can design a tropical island, then invite friends to hang out with you on your virtual private beach. An object creator akin to the Oculus Medium sculpting feature lets you make anything, even a custom t-shirt your avatar could wear. Facebook details it’s Horizon safety features on its “Citizenship” page that explains that “As citizens of Facebook Horizon, it is all of our responsibility to create a culture that’s respectful and comfortable… A Horizon citizen is friendly, inclusive and curious. ” Horizon makes perfect sense for Business obsessed with facilitating social interaction while monetized through ad views based on time spent. It’s easy to imagine Horizon including virtual billboards for brands.
As Facebook starts to grow stale after 15 years on the market, users are looking for a new opportunity to socialize. Many have already ditched the status updates and smarmy Life Events of Facebook for pretty pictures of Instagram and the silliness of Snapchat. Facebook risked being cast aside if it didn’t build its own VR successor, and by offering a world where users can escape their real lives instead of having to enviously compare them to their friends, Horizon could appeal to those bored or claustrophobic on Facebook. If you are super excited and have one of the Oculus VR set (oculus quest/Rift S) you can start playing now by signing up as a beta tester.