Facebook’s new ambitious VR social experience Facebook Horizon has announced that it is currently available for its invite-only public beta. Gearing it up for its release later this year, the public beta seems to add new games, features, and environments for players to enjoy.
With Horizon, it seems that there is an emphasis on community collaboration with its world-building tools that allow you to create various worlds and events for the other members of the community to enjoy and take part in. This can range from simple meaning games all the way to full-blown complex interactive adventure.
In its trailer, it shows players with their customized avatars taking part in several multiplayer minigames such as ramen making classes, mini-golfing, dungeon crawling, bank heists, and a dozen other games and experiences. As well as its world-building aspects where players would be creating their worlds from top-down perspective designing 3D objects with a set of shapes and tools in real-time.
Another stand-out point was the push towards community safety in Horizon. Each avatar comes with a device on their wrist with a blue shield button to enter a Safe Zone. Players can enter the Safe Zone when they feel uncomfortable by the actions of other players and separate themselves from others as well as the environment for a breather. Players can also set boundaries to how close other avatars can get to theirs as well as quick controls to instantly mute, block, or report their fellow players.
According to Facebook, they will always be recording Horizon sessions which will not be seen by any human personnel unless a report is filed. When a report is filed, a clip of a few minutes will be sent to a trained specialist for an evaluation. Any breach of the code of conduct will resort in a ban.
We expected to hear more of Facebook Horizon during the Facebook Connect, the rebranding of Oculus Connect, Oculus’ annual conference. This is the sixth annual conference and the first to be held exclusively online on 16 September. The name change comes after the announcement that Oculus will have mandatory Facebook integration which seemingly had negative feedback from the community. Facebook’s other attempts to move from the Oculus branding include the renaming of Oculus Research to Facebook Reality Labs, which will be handling Facebook AR/VR projects moving forward.
— Oculus (@oculus) August 25, 2020
“Before today, we lacked a unified brand identity from which to tell the story of how we’re building the future of VR and AR,” states Andrew Bosworth, Vice President of FRL. “With the Facebook Reality Labs name, we’re making clear where these technologies are coming from. We hope you’ll come along for the ride. In the meantime, we’ll be working in the lab.”