Today, Meta Platforms is letting a cohort of users flood into the beta version of its social VR app Horizon Worlds—something first announced as “Horizon,” back in the fall of 2019 when Meta was still Facebook. Opening up access to Horizon Worlds is a step in the right direction for the company, but based on what I saw in a preliminary look, I wouldn’t bet the app is going to be a roaring success.
Throughout this past year, Meta has snatched significant attention away from other active metaverse players like Epic, Rec Room, Niantic and Roblox. But the fact remains that when the company has previously tried selling people on its version of social VR, it failed to get off on the right foot. Many (but not all) new Quest owners who unwrap their headsets this holiday season will have the chance to get into Horizon Worlds. And based on my tours, there’s a big risk that first-time users will find what looks to be a VR chatroom and wonder what the big deal is.