'Horizon Worlds' is Finally Opening Its Doors to New Regions Outside of North America – Road to VR

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Meta’s social VR space Horizon Worlds is taking its first step outside of the US and Canada, as the company announced it will soon rollout access to users in the UK.

Starting this week, Quest 2 users aged 18 and older in the UK will be able download and jump into chats with users across the pond in addition to creating and sharing their own worlds.

The company says it also plans to roll out Horizon Worlds to more countries in Europe later this summer.

Other goals include providing a web-based version of Horizon Worlds and eventually fusing all of its Horizon apps (Home, Worlds, Venues, Workrooms) for all users on the platform. For now, Meta has already folded its live event app Horizon Venues entirely into Worlds, which hosts live sports, concerts, comedy, and user-created meet-ups.

In addition to rolling out access to UK-based users, in the next few weeks Meta says it’s also launching a new voice feature aimed at keeping users from being overloaded with unwanted conversations. Changing from the default of hearing nearby users at the same volume and toggling on ‘Garbled Voices’ mode will soon let you essentially render any non-friend conversation into what the company calls “unintelligible, friendly sounds.”

“If you enable Garbled Voices, strangers will see an indicator that you can’t hear them so they don’t feel like you’re ignoring them,” Meta says in a blogpost. “But if you do want to hear what they’re saying, you can simply raise one hand with the controller to your ear to temporarily un-garble them without having to add them as a friend.”

Since launching into the region-restricted beta, Horizon Worlds has added 4-foot personal boundaries, the ability to block, mute, or report anyone engaging in unwanted behavior, and a feature called ‘Safe Zone’, which lets users quickly jump to a private environment. The company will likely continue its refinement of social tools and features, as it no doubt wants to avoid being known for the sort of unregulated free-for-all behavior seen on other social VR platforms.

In the meantime, the company is nudging developers with $10 million in cash to build out content for its nascent metaverse platform—something it will need as it looks to attract users away from third-party solutions. Meta announced last week that Quest 2’s v41 software update will finally give you the ability to invite friends and tour content as a party, including 360 videos and games, all of which will be built-in so you can access social features as soon as you pop on your headset and load into your Home space.

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