Facebook Horizon Launches its Closed Alpha

Facebook is really moving forward on the Facebook Horizon social VR platform project, despite (or perhaps because of) the coronavirus pandemic. Yesterday, they launched their platform, still in closed, invitation-only alpha. More details are here.

Somebody posted the following image to the r/OculusQuest community on Reddit, and it has sparked quite the discussion:

(If you can’t figure out what this is, it is the program information page for the Facebook Horizon app, as seen within the Oculus Quest VR headset.)

Apparently, Facebook has been very choosy about who got a highly-prized invitation to the closed alpha. Even if you did receive the two emails that Facebook sent out, and signed the NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement), that was no guarantee that you would be accepted:

It’s still a lottery even after you sign a NDA. I noticed in one of the Facebook Horizon groups on Facebook. A guy mentioned after he returned his NDA Facebook rejected him. So it’s the luck of the draw.

One person wrote:

Ha, there were so many people the other day saying the development stopped or failed since it was removed from the Coming Soon section. Crazy folks. Facebook is not going to stop development and it’s going to kill when it does release, I can guarantee it.

To which I replied:

Well, there’s absolutely no guarantee that people will actually *use* it. Other social VR platforms have struggled mightily to attract users (e.g. High Fidelity, Sansar).

One problem is that, on Facebook Horizon, you won’t be able to be anybody but yourself, as I wrote about here.

Lots of people use social VR platforms and the older virtual worlds to be SOMEBODY ELSE, not have it tied to their real-life identities.

Interesting times…stay tuned for further news and developments!

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