Facebook Horizon Opening Invite-only Beta for VR
Facebook first announced the Horizon project in September 2019, and almost a year later the experimental VR world is finally entering an invite-only beta. Horizon isn't exactly a game, but it isn't exactly anything else either, so it will be interesting to see how consumers respond to this kind of experience.
Oculus was purchased by Facebook for $2 billion in 2014, so it's no surprise that Horizon is only releasing on the Oculus Quest, Rift, and Rift S. You can sign up to apply for an invitation on the Oculus website, but it isn't clear what criteria Oculus is using for beta invites.
If you're wondering what Horizon really is, well you're not alone. The platform's webpage describes it as "a social experience where you can explore, play and create in extraordinary ways." It goes on to say that "in Horizon, you’re not just a visitor. You’re part of what makes it great."
In the most basic terms, Horizon seems to be a kind of shared virtual world where users can interact and play both cooperative and competitive challenges. One player described "Pacific Rim-style" robot battles along with a "tropical beach with a floating squeaking face-thing hovering near a box of giant berries." Users can quickly teleport between islands for a wide range of experiences.
As you can see above, the animation style is... unique. That said, some users will prefer the cartoon environment over something more grounded or realistic.
Overall, it's impossible to predict what Horizon will look like once it receives a full release. On the other hand, it's an early example of VR social experiences, which will likely become more common in the near future.