Meta launches ‘Horizon Worlds’ as the first official metaverse app

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Meta has released the first official app for the metaverse, which will allow people to meet and interact in a fully virtual environment.

Horizon Worlds is the first step in Mark Zuckerberg’s masterplan to invent the next version of the internet.

At present, it’s only available in the US and Canada and requires a Quest 2 virtual reality headset to experience.

But it allows those that can take part to gather together, play games and build their own worlds inside the metaverse. It’s kind of like Roblox meets the Oasis.

Horizon Worlds has taken two years to develop and is available to download for free if users have the right hardware. It was originally designed to be compatible with the first Oculus headset, but Meta is ending support for that in January.

‘Horizon Worlds is a social VR experience where you can create and explore together. Since launching as an invite-only beta last year, we’ve been amazed by the community that’s begun to form and inspired by the unique experiences they’ve built, ‘Meta – formerly known as Facebook – announced in a blog post.

Users can work, play and interact as virtual avatars in the metaverse (Credit: Meta)

‘Our vision for Horizon Worlds is to develop a VR space with best-in-class tools for creators to build words and explore together.’

So far the metaverse is limited to virtual gaming platforms but companies like Meta are planning to incorporate it into our lives just like they did with social media. Since the pandemic sped up the use of virtual meeting spaces for work and leisure, plans for a metaverse doesn’t seem so far fetched.

What is the metaverse?

A man playing chess with a virtual partner

It’s going to be like real life – but virtual (Credit: Facebook Connect)

The word metaverse is a combination of ‘the prefix meta, meaning’ beyond ‘and’ universe ‘.

Essentially, it’s a world of endless, interconnected virtual communities where people can meet, work and play, using virtual reality headsets, augmented reality glasses, smartphone apps or other devices.

It will also incorporate other aspects of online life such as shopping and social media, according to Victoria Petrock, an analyst who follows emerging technologies.

Mark Zuckerberg unveils Horizon (Picture: Facebook Connect)

Mark Zuckerberg is pushing the metaverse as the next incarnation of the internet (Credit: Facebook Connect)

Zuckerberg says he expects the metaverse to reach a billion people within the next decade.

It will be a place people will be able to interact, work and create products and content in what he hopes will be a new ecosystem that creates millions of jobs for creators.

Inside the metaverse will be different apps for different purposes.

Each person can design avatars of themselves and use hand gestures thanks to the wireless Oculus controllers that come with the VR headset.

Avatars in Meta 'Horizon Worlds app (Meta)

Is this the future of online collaboration? (Credit: Meta)

Eventually, we may start to see other areas of everyday life transition to the metaverse.

Seoul in South Korea has already announced it’s joining the metaverse as a way for people to enjoy tourist destinations and residents to access municipal services.

MORE: Seoul becomes first major city to join the metaverse

MORE: Facebook will create 10,000 EU jobs to help build its ‘metaverse’

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