Meta begins testing members-only worlds Horizon worldsits social VR platform, which allows people to build curated worlds for a select community of users.
These members-only worlds provide a kind of middle ground for creators on the platform. You can currently create public worlds where many people can go, and the company is also testing what it calls personal spaces, which function like a private home in VR where you have tight control over who comes. Members-only worlds, on the other hand, are limited to 150 members and 25 concurrent visitors.
Meta suggests the new members-only spaces could be useful for groups such as book clubs, gaming groups, a place for VIP creator supporters, or a place to hang out with friends. “With complete control over who has access to their worlds, creators can consistently deliver a positive experience where people can make connections and nurture a strong, thriving community,” writes Meta a blog post credited to Oculus Blog. “Our goal is to put design in the hands of creators so they can fully create the experience they want to offer others.” To me, that all sounds like Facebook groups or Discord servers, but for VR.
Unfortunately, you may not have access to members-only worlds yet, as they launch first in a limited beta with a “small group of trusted creators.” Meta says it’s keeping the test group small to “get feedback on the design and moderation of members-only worlds so we can further iterate and improve the product.”
In her blog post, Meta buried a potentially great piece of information about the future of Horizon: It will be available on web and mobile “soon”. We know those web and mobile versions of Horizon were in the works, with mobile originally slated to release sometime last year. But later in the year, the company went into a “quality lockdown” to make Horizon worlds better, which seems to have delayed launch on new platforms. We’ve asked Meta if it can share specific details about the web and mobile releases.
Launch Horizon worlds on more platforms it will become significantly more accessible; right now it’s available exclusively on Meta’s own Quest VR headsets. And recent new features like better moderation features and a more logical jump button show that Meta is committed to improving the platform. But it will have to be great to succeed against other popular virtual social spaces like robloxand although I don’t know if Horizon worlds isn’t there yet, it seems like a good step forward to be able to create a members-only space for your friends.