In a significant move, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced the expansion of the metaverse experience, Horizon Worlds, from virtual reality headsets to smartphones and computers. The 3D avatar-based social platform made the announcement in a blog post on September 15, revealing the early access rollout of its first Meta Horizon world to mobile and web platforms.
The initial offering available to users is “Super Rumble,” a free-for-all shooter game that was introduced in late July. This game enables two to six players to engage in fast-paced matches lasting five minutes. Meta has also hinted at the introduction of more experiences and worlds on the platform in the coming months.
However, it’s important to note that the initial rollout will be limited, with only a select number of users gaining access through the web or the Meta Quest app on Android. An iOS rollout is scheduled for the upcoming weeks.
Meta expressed its commitment to making the metaverse accessible to a wider audience, emphasizing that “the metaverse should be available to everyone — no matter what device they’re on.” This move to bring Horizon Worlds to more devices aligns with their goal of broadening the user base. While Meta has not disclosed official monthly active user statistics, a report from The Wall Street Journal in October 2022 suggested it had fewer than 200,000 users.
Currently, Meta’s social platform is only available in select countries, including Canada, France, Iceland, Ireland, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Interestingly, some blockchain-based metaverse platforms, such as Decentraland and The Sandbox, took a different approach, initially launching as PC and web-based experiences. Decentraland introduced its browser-based 3D virtual world in February 2020, while The Sandbox launched its Alpha on PC in November 2021. Both platforms have yet to release an official virtual reality version.
In a notable update, Meta avatars in Horizon Worlds have finally received a much-anticipated feature: virtual legs. This development comes after initial criticism regarding the absence of legs for avatars in Meta’s metaverse. Zuckerberg had promised this update during Connect 2022, and it appears that the functionality was introduced in a test version update for Quest Home space. Users have reported that the avatars now have legs in the Horizon Worlds app, marking a significant step forward in enhancing the metaverse experience.
Mark Zuckerberg’s expansion of Horizon Worlds to mobile and web platforms signifies Meta’s commitment to making the metaverse more accessible and inclusive, while also addressing user feedback to enhance the overall experience.