Meta is finally bringing Horizon Worlds out of virtual reality. The 3D social platform has previously been exclusive to its VR headsets, but Meta announced on Thursday that Horizon Worlds is starting to roll out on mobile and the web in early access.
“To start, a small number of people can now access Super Rumble through the Meta Quest app on Android, with iOS rolling out in the coming weeks,” Meta said. “Early access is also available on any web browser at horizon.meta.com.” (When I clicked that link, I was able to get on the waitlist.) The company promises that “as we roll out more worlds over the next few months, you’ll be able to hang out with friends, laugh it up at comedy shows, and enjoy free concerts and events from any web-connected device.”
This all means that, at least to start on mobile and the web, you’ll only be able to play Super Rumble, Meta spokesperson Bryan Pope confirmed to The Verge. More worlds will be rolling out “soon,” Pope says. That means this is ultimately a very small launch; in the VR version of Horizon Worlds, players have access to a wide variety of experiences made by Meta and by other players.
Still, this initial rollout could prove to be an important moment for Meta’s broader metaverse ambitions. “The metaverse should be available to everyone — no matter what device they’re on,” the company wrote. “And while Quest headsets are the most immersive way to access the metaverse, we believe there should be multiple entry points. Bringing Worlds to more surfaces is a step toward delivering on that vision and opening up the experience to more people.”
The mobile and web launch is a very long time coming. The company started discussing it publicly last year, and Vishal Shah, Meta’s metaverse VP, has said that the company had a working version of the mobile version last year that it didn’t end up shipping. “It was a little bit too much of a VR game on mobile as opposed to a mobile-native experience,” Shah said in an interview with Lowpass.
I’m guessing Meta will talk more about Horizon Worlds and its metaverse efforts at its Connect conference on September 27th and 28th.
Update September 14th, 1:50PM ET: Added new details from a Meta spokesperson and included some of the history of the web and mobile versions of Horizon Worlds.