A first-hand look at Horizon Worlds — Meta's version of the metaverse that involves virtual reality, games and avatars without legs.
Before we dive deep into how Meta plans to capture the virtual space, let’s equip ourselves with the knowledge of the current metaverse environments and its leading players in the 3D virtual space. So get ready to join hands with your friends from the comfort of your living room and interact with them with an experience as real as that of the real world.
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What Is a Metaverse?
The existence of online communities isn’t something new and has been around since the late 1980s. It started in the realms of text-based internet messaging in the 1990s, with dedicated chat rooms that hosted online parties. Then came the first social media site — AOL.
Soon after online communities grew, World of Warcraft stepped in and revolutionized both the gaming industry and virtual communities. People could communicate and interact with each other on dedicated World of Warcraft servers that allowed them to share strategies, strategize plans regarding the gameplay, formulate teams and perform tasks. This opened the gates to the creation and development of multiple online communities.
Currently, the concept of the metaverse evolved from the idea of real-time communication in a virtual enviroment. The experience is altered to mimic the experience of the real world.
The initial idea of a metaverse is to develop a 3D virtual environment that can be accessed by a unique avatar. Users just need a working internet connection, an account and a decent-spec computer. If you have these three, you’re good to go to explore the virtual worlds.
To get a better understanding of the implementation of several metaverses, let’s take a brief look into the different companies that are actively investing in the metaverse, including Meta.
Companies in the Metaverse
There is no denying that Meta is a major player in the social media industry and can be considered as one of the most influential companies in the internet generation. Considering the type of control that Meta has on the social media space, it is difficult to count it out when Zuckerberg decides to expand into the metaverse.
Amidst the numerous news of poor data privacy management, data leaks and anti-competitive behaviors of the tech giant, Facebook had to come up with an innovation that could improve their brand image. One can argue it is a reason for the rebranding of Facebook into Meta.
Meta aims to be the future of virtual communication and human interaction. It believes that the world will find Meta as the primary alternative to real-world jobs and operations, and soon the world would shift its focus towards the development and enhancement of virtual environments.
Facebook Presents: Horizon Worlds
We took a deep dive into the virtual-reality-based version of Horizon Worlds that primarily focuses on acquainting people with the initial idea of Facebook’s real-time communication coupled with virtual reality.
Since metaverse requires you to have a digital presence, you would require a 3D avatar. So without further adieu, we began the process of creating a new avatar that provided us with various options to customize our character.
From ample choices for hairstyles, facial features, skin tones and clothing, we easily customized our legless character (that’s right, Zuckerberg didn’t think legs would be of much use in the virtual environment anyway, due to the teleporting mechanism of movement) into what we needed.
As soon as we got into the virtual environment, we were exposed to various other avatars that were performing different activities. The games that we explored are as follows:
Action Island Teams
The generic pick-a-gun-and-shoot game features both a team and solo structure of playstyle that allows you to eliminate other players if you hit them first with your weapon. The initial concept of the game is to capture the flag that is in the possession of both teams. Whichever team captures the flag first, wins.
A game that starts with a maze-like map. Your main goal is to shoot the targets in front of you as you progress forward. While the game didn’t have a lot to do, we got the hang of it and understood how it might look intriguing to an average gamer.
Next up, we tested Interdimensional, built around escape-room-like gameplay that requires us to complete puzzles in the designated time. Since the gameplay required multiplayer assistance and collaboration, it showed how Horizon Worlds could handle real-time interaction from across the world.
Is flying an airplane something that you have always wanted to do? If yes, then Wing Strikers is tailor-made for plane geeks like you. You can play in a collaborative environment with people from around the world.
Although we didn’t game for as long as creating an official review about the gaming experience, the initial gaming experience gave us the impression that Horizon Worlds and its games are here to stay. With the seamless and fluent integration of real-time virtual communication in their first attempt, Horizon Worlds looks promising.
Was Facebook’s Rebranding into Meta Just Another Timely Move?
Facebook is renowned for its timeliness in making pivotal decisions that ensures the tech giant continues to dominate. It is by no easy feat that the Facebook app alone has 2.6B monthly active users. For this reason, Facebook’s move to rebrand itself can be easily considered as a strategic move to place its first-ever product and correlate its existing social media giant (formerly known as Facebook) with the metaverse projects to come.