Meta has launched a closed beta test of Horizon Worlds for smartphones. The metaverse platform is currently available for the Meta Quest; however, when the new app officially launches, Horizon Worlds will be more accessible, providing greater growth potential.
The platform lets users create social experiences and games using controllers. While in Horizon Worlds, you can place and manipulate shapes, offering limitless possibilities.
This new beta comes 18 months after Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced to investors that the platform would come to smartphones within the year; however, until now, the app has failed to materialise.
Recently, Meta’s Metaverse Vice President, Vishal Shah told journalists that the mobile app was more like a VR game rather than a mobile-native experience. As a result, Meta has had to rebuild Horizons.
Here’s what we know so far about the new smartphone beta of Horizon Worlds and how Meta is reshaping its metaverse platform.
The Horizon Worlds Smartphone Beta Waiting List
If you want to try Horizon Worlds on your phone, you’ll need to join Meta’s waiting list. Reports have emerged that Meta has started letting people in to test the app on their phones.
When you head to the registration site, you’ll find an FAQ confirming that Horizon Worlds is available on Android using the existing Meta Quest app, rather than a new app. The site also confirms that a web version of Horizon Worlds is due soon.
iPhone users will need to wait for the web version of Horizon Worlds to try it. This may be because Apple won’t allow apps to act as game platforms.
How Does Horizon Worlds Differ On Smartphones?
So far, it seems that the smartphone app won’t provide the full potential that VR users can experience. While using the Quest app, you can access any of the user-generated worlds; however, when visiting via a smartphone, you will only be able to visit worlds that support smartphones.
Meta recently announced the launch of its new first-party studio, Ouro Interactive. To coincide with its launch, the first VR, mobile, and web-accessible world, Super Rumble, has been unveiled. Super Rumble is the first to use Horizon Worlds’ new creator tools, which are TypeScript and 3D asset importing.
Reports indicate that the Meta Avatars seen in smartphone footage show legs that move while in motion. Despite the announcement nearly a year ago that avatars would receive moving legs, VR users are still depicted as heads, arms, and torsos.
What Does Horizon Worlds Coming to Smartphones Mean?
So far, Horizon Worlds has seen slow user growth. The platform competes with VRChat and Rec Room; however, Horizon Worlds flags drastically behind its competitors in terms of popularity.
By opening Horizon Worlds up to smartphone and web users, Meta will hope to increase the platform’s popularity. That said, both competitor apps are already available across multiple devices.
Much of the success of Horizon Worlds is down to the volume of user-generated content available on the platform. With limited users, it’s harder for Meta to attract more.
Launched in 2021, Horizon Worlds hit 300,000 monthly users in February 2022. By October 2022, this monthly user figure had dropped to just 200,000. A change in the platform’s age limit and a revamp to attract younger users soon followed.