Do you remember Playstation Home? The game on Playstation 3 where you could travel to public spaces and interact with strangers through avatars? Or Second Life, a similar concept where you can create whole worlds. Facebook is working on the VR version of the idea, dubbed Horizon, and it’s ready for beta. But you’ll have to ask for an invite.
Virtual Reality (VR) has limitations, and early images and a demo video reveal that right away. In Horizon, you create an avatar to interact with, but the avatars resemble more advanced Miis from the Nintendo Wii. And they lack legs.
Instead of walking around, you float around (at about walking height). But once you have an avatar, you can join “an ever-expanding universe of virtual experiences designed and built by the entire community.” Horizon features games, activities, and areas to hang out and chat.
You can also create your own words (or collaborate with others), and then share them to explore. At least that’s the dream; this is a beta after all. Facebook says it created all the beta areas using the same tools you’ll have access to when Horizon releases.
To help combat abuse, Facebook created a Safe Zone feature you can access from your risk. Once you’re in the Safe Zone, you can mute, block, and report others. Facebook says it has moderation tools in place and can hear everything you can (these are public spaces after all). It even has a buffer of recorded data so it can see what already occurred, though how far back it can go is unclear.
If you want to give Horizon a try, you have to request access to the beta. You can do that at the Oculus site. You’ll need Oculus-branded VR set too, naturally.