Meta's proto-metaverse Horizon Worlds launches in Europe
August 16 Update:
Horizon Worlds launches in France and Spain. Ireland and Iceland have also been connected to Meta's proto-Metaverse since mid-July. Meta does not comment on a possible German launch of Quest 2 and thus Horizon Worlds.
Meta accounts, which could be an initial spark for the German launch, should still be available in August.
June 14 article:
Meta's Metaverse launches in Europe with new features
Meta brings Horizon Worlds with new features to Europe for the first time. In which countries is the social VR app launching?
Meta is bringing its Metaverse platform Horizon Worlds to Europe for the first time. The first countries will gain access in the coming weeks, with more to follow throughout the year. Meta is also introducing a new feature designed to give users more control over their environment.
Horizon Worlds comes to Europe
Horizon Worlds launched in 2021 and is currently available on the Oculus Rift (S) and Meta Quest 2. Support for Quest 1 was discontinued in January 2022. Until now, only users over the age of 18 in the US and Canada had access to the social VR app.
The age restriction remains in place. However, the virtual gates will soon open for social VR enthusiasts in Europe. On the company's own Oculus blog, Meta announces that the social VR app will be rolled out to more and more users in England, Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland in the coming weeks.
Horizon Worlds: More control over your environment
Meta also announced a new feature called "Voice Mode," which should also be released in the coming weeks. This allows Horizon users to choose how they hear people who are not on their friends list.
Voices of strangers and unintentionally audible conversations can thus be distorted and perceived as "unintelligible friendly tones". The mute function can be temporarily interrupted by briefly holding the controller to the ear.
Those who use the function receive a corresponding symbol on their avatar so that other avatars know that they are not being heard.
Meta's European plans take shape
The Horizon platform, which in addition to Worlds with Venues also includes the Horizon Workrooms meeting app and Horizon Home, is a key part of Meta's Metaverse plans. To expand the number of users, the group is planning a major expansion of Horizon Worlds and also wants to bring the platform to the web, smartphones, and consoles.
Meta also has big plans for Europe. Over the next five years, Facebook's parent company wants to create 10,000 jobs in Europe to help build up its Metaverse. To train those specialists from scratch, Meta is also opening a Metaverse Academy in France. The academy will offer courses for support engineers and developers of immersive technologies.
Horizon Worlds: German launch on the horizon?
In addition to announcing the launch in the UK, Meta emphasizes that Horizon Worlds will be released in other European countries in the summer. A launch in Germany would come as a surprise due to the ongoing legal dispute with the German Federal Cartel Office (BKartA).
The BKartA is particularly concerned about the linking of Facebook and Oculus accounts. It also said Meta was abusing its market power in social media. The case is currently before the European Court of Justice. You can read the entire case in our article Meta vs. Germany.