Meta reportedly began testing a members-only space in its virtual reality social platform Horizon Worlds, allowing people to design exclusive worlds for specific groups.
These members-only spaces will provide a middle ground for creators on the platform. Users can currently make public spaces on the platform that many people can access. At the same time, the company is also testing so-called virtual spaces, which are sort of like private homes in the VR world and can have tight control over visitors. The members-only spaces, on the other hand, will cap membership at 150 people, with a maximum of 25 visitors online at the same time.
Meta says the new members-only space is suitable for smaller groups like book clubs and gaming teams, offering both VIP services and easy access to gatherings of friends. “With full control over who has access to their world, creators can always provide a positive experience in which people can connect, creating strong, thriving communities.” Meta wrote in a blog post, “Our goal is to put design power in the hands of creators, who can take full ownership of shaping the experiences they want to offer to others.”
But industry insiders think that from this presentation, it seems more like Facebook Groups or Discord than a VR service.
Unfortunately, most users won’t be able to access the members-only space yet, as the service is initially being tested with “a small group of trusted creators.” Meta said the company will limit the size of the test population to “get feedback on the design and review of the members-only world so we can further iterate and improve it. Meta said it will limit the size of the test population to “get feedback on the design and review of the members-only world so we can further iterate and improve the product.
Meta also hid an important piece of information about the future of Horizon Worlds in the post: the service will be available for web and mobile “soon. It was previously announced that Horizon Worlds was in development for both web and mobile, with mobile initially planned for release later last year. However, Meta entered a “quality lockdown” phase late last year in hopes of improving Horizon Worlds, which appears to have delayed the release of both web and mobile.
Launching Horizon Worlds for more platforms would expand the service’s audience: so far, it’s only accessible through the Quest VR headset from Meta. A number of recent new features show that Meta is determined to improve the platform. But they’ll have to strive for excellence to compete with other virtual reality social services like Roblox. While it’s hard to say for sure if Horizon Worlds has reached that level of excellence, the members-only space seems to be a step in the right direction.