Facebook Horizon, the social VR app planned for Oculus Quest and Rift, is hitting its closed beta invite-only testing phase later this year. You can sign up now to be added to the waitlist as invites will begin rolling out “in the coming weeks” according to today’s Oculus blog post. Alpha testing began in March. You can find more information on the official Facebook Horizon website.
After spending a little bit of time inside Facebook Horizon earlier this week, I’d say the closest comparison would be Rec Room from indie studio Against Gravity. They both feature similarly whimsical art styles, a heavy focus on in-app game creation, and heavily incentivize being social with others in VR.
The big difference obviously is that Horizon is, naturally, backed by Facebook and is exclusive to Oculus devices like the Rift and Quest. Rec Room is made by a small studio, but is cross-platform on all PC VR headsets, Quest, PSVR, desktop non-VR, PS4 non-VR, and even non-VR mobile devices.
Like most user-generated content focused experiences, Facebook Horizon will live and die by the quality and quantity of good content. There seems to be a high ceiling for the types of games and worlds people can create, so it all comes down to whether or not creators will want to build for this platform instead of for others.
When using Horizon, you’re required to link your account to your Oculus actual Facebook account. However, in-game it will still only show your Oculus ID, not your real identity. There are plenty of safety and privacy tools as well, such as a personal safe space bubble, blocking and reporting features, as well as parties and friend invites to navigate. Accessing and playing content seemed simple, but the building tools will definitely take a lot of practice to master.
There isn’t a firm date yet for the invite-only Facebook Horizon beta, but they’ve at least said it will be here in the “coming weeks” so not much longer. Perhaps sometime near the Facebook Connect (formerly known as Oculus Connect) digital event on September 16th would make sense.
Let us know what you think down in the comments below and don’t forget to sign up for the waitlist right here since the beta is invite-only and check out our feature interview story from Oculus Connect 6 last year on Horizon’s features and focus.