When Facebook (now Meta) unveiled its version of the Metaverse, it came with big promises of new and exciting tools like the Horizon Home. Although most of these are still in beta testing, Mark Zuckerberg, Meta Founder and Chief Executive, offered a sneak peek into his futuristic vision during the Facebook Connect 2021 keynote.
Facebook’s Metaverse is a highly-interconnected set of digital spaces powered by virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR). These are unified simulated environments where people get together with friends and families, hang out, and explore new worlds.
Mike Proulx, Media and Marketing Strategist and CMO Research Director at Forrester, tweeted this reply to anchor Susan Tran while discussing Horizon Home.
Once #HorizonHome gets built out, I’m going to get us both @oculus Quest 2s so we can check it out together — perhaps live on-air?
Horizon Home is an integral part of this Metaverse, giving users a feeling of “a home away from home” that’s also social and interactive.
So, what exactly is Horizon Home? Here’s what we know so far.
Horizon Home: Your Virtual Retreat
When Mark Zuckerberg unveiled his version of the metaverse in October, he took us on a journey into a digital world where friendly avatars were spending time with each other in a conceptual virtual space.
These avatars–the digital versions of users–can now be invited to your digital house. This is what the Horizon Home brings to the table. Zuckerberg’s keynote speech revolved around “connecting people” as the most crucial aspect of the Metaverse.
Horizon Home, one of Meta’s prime new offerings, is an embodiment of that outlook–a ‘safe haven’ unburdened by the constraints of the physical world where people can socialise, learn about each other, and engage in collaborative activities.
It is the latest addition to Horizon, Meta’s social platform where people can create their own ideal worlds and interact with each other inside the vast metaverse.
Horizon Home joins Horizon Worlds, Workrooms, and Venues as Meta enables interoperability to drive superior experience for users.
What is the Horizon Home according to Zuckerberg? In a founder’s letter, he stated:
“In this future, you will be able to teleport instantly as a hologram to be at the office without a commute, at a concert with friends, or in your parent’s living room to catch up. This will open up more opportunities no matter where you live. You will be able to spend more time on what matters to you, cut downtime in traffic, and reduce your carbon footprint”
Meta’s Horizon Home is a step up from the existing Oculus Home users already have in their VR headsets. Presently, Quest users can select from a variety of unique environments, from a cosy cabin to a new-age cyberpunk apartment.
But, in the newly rebranded version, users can do much more. They can invite friends to hang out, watch immersive videos, or jump into multiplayer games together. Quest 2 users will also be able to enjoy Horizon Home simply by slipping into their headsets.
In his keynote presentation, Zuckerberg highlights how users will be treated to an enviable digital wardrobe for their avatars in Horizon Home.
Eventually, they will be able to build and customise their own Horizon homes according to their preferences – a feature that could even encourage developers and creators to contribute to the Metaverse’s creative economy.
Meta has announced that Horizon Home will soon be available in a Quest update, and as Meta takes Horizon Home to the next level, the Quest Store will now be open to 2D apps for the first time.
You will be able to access apps like Dropbox and Slack from within your Horizon Home, which means that you can relax in your virtual home while keeping tabs on your work–all without taking off your VR headset.
Of course, Meta is also planning to integrate its popular social apps like Facebook and Instagram into the Oculus store as part of the Home experience.
What Makes Horizon Home Unique?
Horizon Home’s true power lies in the VR technology underlying it. It is a major upgrade to the existing home experience and promises to bring several more through third-party applications.
But what’s most special about home is that it acts as a gateway into Meta’s rich VR world – and very soon, the entire metaverse.
Meta is investing billions of dollars in building their metaverse. Incidentally, the Oculus 2 headsets required to access Horizon Home costs $299 and during Connect 2021, Meta announced a $150 million new initiative to train future creators to build immersive educational content.
They are also working with game engine developer Unity to train people and nurture their skills for creating avant-garde AR and VR content. It explains the pivotal role VR innovation plays in making the Horizon Home a successful product.
Into the VR Home-Verse
Apart from the virtual hangout area enabled by Horizon Home, there is a new VR home trend coming into play: the use of virtual real estate.
Facebook may hit the right notes with its Horizon Home concept, but real estate companies are also leveraging VR to simulate real-life properties since the pandemic.
Experts stated that VR is amongst the emerging technology trends in real estate today due to its ability to engage and retain user attention. One of the biggest influences VR has in real estate is in virtual reality home tours, highly reminiscent of the Horizon Home experience.
This integration of VR into real estate indicates that people are warming up to bringing their homes into virtual reality.
Meta’s Horizon Home speaks to this trend louder than ever. It promises to build and deliver a customised space that’s truly your own, while being shared by your friends, community, and other inhabitants of the metaverse.
This coming together of the personal and social is what makes Horizon Home – indeed all Horizon offerings – such a compelling product.
Ultimately, virtual reality breathes life into the metaverse by not only simulating the physical world but by equipping it with creative capacities that let it grow and expand.