Meta is adding a feature to Horizon Worlds that will let you garble the voices of strangers.
A very similar feature is enabled by default in Normal VR’s 2019 Quest release Half + Half. Now a very similar setting will be found inside “Voice Mode” coming to Meta’s Horizon Worlds.
“When this feature begins rolling out in the next few weeks, it will allow you to choose how you hear people who aren’t on your friends list, including the option to not hear unwanted conversations at all. By default, you’ll hear all nearby users at the same volume, but with Voice Mode, you can easily switch to Garbled Voices, in which non-friends’ voices come across as unintelligible, friendly sounds,” a blog post by Meta explains. “If you enable Garbled Voices, strangers will see an indicator that you can’t hear them so they don’t feel like you’re ignoring them. But if you do want to hear what they’re saying, you can simply raise one hand with the controller to your ear to temporarily un-garble them without having to add them as a friend.”
The feature in Horizon Worlds could dramatically shift the tone of many interactions, with one recent four-star review of the platform writing “I as a grown woman do not appreciate being called dummy repeatedly by a child that sounds 5.” Earlier this year, Meta added a personal boundary as the default for Horizon Worlds to maintain personal space and reduce harassment.