Meta has opened a closed beta of Horizon Worlds on phones and web browsers, and the first footage has emerged.
Horizon Worlds is Meta’s “metaverse” platform. It works similarly to Rec Room, allowing users to create their own social games and experiences inside VR by using controllers to place & manipulate shapes, with a visual scripting system to add dynamic functionality.
In early 2022 Mark Zuckerberg told investors Horizon would launch on smartphones later that year, but that didn't happen. Meta's metaverse VP Vishal Shah told a journalist last month that original version of the mobile app "was a little bit too much of a VR game on mobile as opposed to a mobile-native experience", so the company rebuilt it instead.
Meta CTO Andrew Bosworth also officially referenced a web version of Horizon in mid 2022.
Meta now lets you apply to join the waitlist to try Horizon on mobile and web, and it seems to already be letting some users in. X user Luna posted footage, which they told UploadVR they captured after discovering they had access in the Meta Quest app on their Pixel 6a:
The registration site FAQ confirms Horizon on Android phones is available through the existing Meta Quest app, not a new app.
The web based version is, according to the FAQ, the only way for iPhone users to access Horizon. That's potentially due to Apple's rule against apps acting as game platforms, the same rule that prevented Xbox streaming launching as an iPhone app.
Luna was also able to access the web version on their PC via the registration site, and sent UploadVR footage of gameplay:
For both mobile and web this doesn't appear to be the full Horizon experience of accessing arbitrary user generated worlds though. Rather, world creators seem to have to specifically add support for mobile devices.
Super Rumble, the shooter from Meta's new first party studio Ouro Interactive, is the first world available on mobile and web. It's also currently the only Horizon world to leverage the platform's upcoming next generation creator tools, 3D asset importing and TypeScript.
Interestingly, the Meta Avatars on mobile in Luna's footage show running legs while moving around, while the VR players in the session continue to lack legs, despite Meta announcing legs as coming soon almost a year ago.
A leaked internal Meta memo last year revealed that Meta believed Horizon simply "has not found product market fit". Its competitors Rec Room and VRChat are almost always in the top 5 most popular Quest apps, while Horizon Worlds only makes the top 25.
Meta will be hoping that launching on mobile and web and improving the graphical quality will be enough to reverse this trend and bring in a wave of new users. The vastly different input schemes of VR and smartphones mean this will likely be a significant challenge though, and Rec Room and VRChat are already available on smartphones too.