Facebook has just presented a series of short teaser videos about its forthcoming social VR platform, Facebook Horizon, on Twitter (here’s a link to the entire thread).
Among other things, it shows that Facebook Horizon will support collaborative building, including the ability to resize your avatar as needed while building.
The Facebook Horizon avatars (and the rather blocky, Minecraft-esque style of the user-created worlds briefly presented in these teaser videos) leave me rather underwhelmed, especially after having been immersed in Sansar for so long. Sorry, Facebook. Frankly, I was expecting more than this. Even the Rec Room avatars and the updated AltspaceVR avatars look better than these boring, soulless Horizon ones.
The in-world building tools do remind me strongly of building with prims in vintage Second Life, circa 2003-2007. I’m still trying to decide if that is a good thing or not. Remember that many virtual world content creators got their start with prim building in SL, and eventually moved on to other tools (e.g. Blender) and other platforms (e.g. Sinespace). This could be a good decision in a virtual world intended to appeal to novice users. I wonder if Facebook Horizon will allow users to import more complex mesh items created using programs such as Blender, because that building-block stuff is not going to be terribly appealing to many experienced content creators. And user-generated content (plus a marketplace to buy and sell it) will be key to the success of Horizon.
I will be updating this blogpost throughout the next few days with other people’s reactions to these videos.
I’m quite sure that more details (and commentary on these tweets) will follow. It’s still not enough to entice me to renounce my recent decision to boycott Facebook products and services, however.
Thanks to Jin for the heads up!
UPDATE 1:47 p.m.: Well, that didn’t take very long! Lucas Rizzotto, creator of the wonderful VR app Where Thoughts Go, opines:
This looks like the social VR equivalent of a beige wall. I’m astounded that a company spending hundreds of millions of dollars on social VR can only come up with Rec Room, but Pixar.
In the many good comments made on a tweet made by VR vlogger Nathie of one of the new Facebook Horizon videos, Lhun says:
No legs, major lack of immersion, Roblox gameplay. If it’s as easy as Roblox to build things like that, sure, that’ll be popular, but VRChat it ain’t.
Of course, many people are using comparisons to existing platforms and services in talking about Horizon. Hermit tweeted:
Its Rec Room + VRChat with Facebook integration. This is going to be big, but I’m not sure its going to be good-big or horrifying-big, likely both.