Remember Facebook Horizon, the company’s attempt at a new virtual reality (VR) social platform that was revealed in 2019 and accessible as an invite-only beta? Well, this week the Facebook branding has been dropped in favour of Horizon Worlds whilst announcing a new $10 million creators fund to encourage more to the platform.
Horizon Worlds now joins Horizon Workrooms, expanding Facebook’s suite of VR applications around the “Horizon” name, the former a creative universe where you can build whatever world you like, the latter focused on collaborative, enterprise-based working environments. It’s likely these won’t be the only two applications under this new branding banner.
Ever since the Horizon Worlds beta launched Facebook has been developing new tools to grow the social application, encouraging creators to come in and flesh out the experience. These include new textures and improved object snapping, whilst tools on the horizon include: “for projectile launching mechanics and global leaderboards.” You don’t even need to start from scratch if you don’t want to, with the Horizon Worlds team building an entire experience that can be used as a template. Additionally, an educational hub will be made available to help those new to the platform.
As for that $10 million creators fund, that’ll provide support and resources by distributing those funds in three core ways. The first is via Creator Competitions that’ll begin later this year. Each competition will offer up to $10k in cash prizes, shared across first, second, and third place winners – how much each will get hasn’t been revealed. All you have to do is build a really cool world. The second option will be via the Accelerator Program. This is an: “application-based initiative designed to give people from diverse backgrounds an advanced crash course in Horizon Worlds creation.” Applications open next month for the 2022 programme.
Facebook has also been working directly with third-party developers to help build its Horizon Worlds vision. Content is built around a certain theme, earlier this year those involved built cooperative mini-games for two-four players. The next theme hasn’t been unveiled but if you’re an interested studio or solo developer sign-ups are being accepted for these funded projects.
By the sound of it, Horizon Worlds isn’t yet ready to leave beta for an official public outing. If there’s going to be any major news about the platform it’s probably going to be unveiled in a few weeks at Facebook Connect. For all the latest news from the annual show, keep reading VRFocus.