Mark Zuckerberg told investors Meta plans to launch “a version of Horizon on mobile” this year:
“Horizon is core to our metaverse vision. This is our social VR world-building experience that we recently opened to people in the US and Canada. And we’ve seen a number of talented creators build worlds like a recording studio where producers collaborate or a relaxing space to meditate.
And this year, we plan to launch a version of Horizon on mobile too, that will bring early metaverse experiences to more surfaces beyond VR. So while the deepest and most immersive experiences are going to be in virtual reality, you’re also going to be able to access the worlds from your Facebook or Instagram apps as well, and probably more over time.”
The remarks were made during Meta’s Q4 earnings call, where the company reported more than $2 billion revenue from Quest and Portal.
Horizon is Meta’s brand for its suite of “metaverse” social VR apps: Horizon Worlds, Horizon Workrooms, Horizon Venues, and the soon to launch Horizon Home. Each uses your Meta Avatar and each requires an active Facebook account for access.
Based on Zuckerberg’s mention of creators building worlds, he’s seemingly referring to the flagship app Horizon Worlds, which was renamed from just ‘Facebook Horizon’ in October and launched to US & Canadian adults in December after a two year closed beta. Worlds works similarly to Rec Room, allowing users to create their own social experiences inside VR by using controllers to place & manipulate shapes and using a visual scripting system to add dynamic functionality.
But it’s unclear exactly how Horizon Worlds, an app designed specifically for VR, would work on a smartphone lacking tracked controllers. Meta could follow Rec Room in porting mechanics to mobile, but this would be a significant effort and could compromise future features – ideas could be squashed by designers wondering “but how will this work on mobile?” It’s also possible “a version” of Horizon means mobile users will be spectators unable to create content or engage in all interactions – the mobile version would then also act as marketing for the full VR experience.
Further, it’s unclear what Zuckerberg means by saying “you’re also going to be able to access the worlds from your Facebook or Instagram apps as well”. Will these apps balloon in size with a 3D rendering engine, will Meta use cloud streaming, or does this simply mean in-feed links to a separate Horizon Worlds mobile app?