Meta’s Horizon Worlds became available this week (At least to US and Canadian customers over 18yo on the Quest 2 Headset). Horizon Worlds was initially announced back in 2019 as Facebook Horizon. As a closed application specific to Meta, it is not quite a Metaverse by the definition of interconnected virtual platforms. It’s currently a social VR platform where users can build experiences for other users. Similar to already existing Second Life, VRChat, Altspace, and Rec Room.
Among Us, the game released in 2017 but popularized during mid-quarantine in 2020, is getting a VR remake. The VR remake will be available on Meta Quest 2, PC VR, and PlayStation VR headsets. The announcement was made at The Game Awards 2021. The Game Awards also had a VR watch party built using Active Theory’s Dreamwave. Active Theory is a creative digital agency that’s created popular web-based immersive experiences.
In his end of the year review on his blog, Microsoft founder Bill Gates predicted that within the next two to three years, most of our virtual meetings will move from the 2D camera grid style we see on platforms like Zoom, onto a 3D Metaverse space. “The idea is that you will eventually use your avatar to meet with people in a virtual space that replicates the feeling of being in an actual room with them.”
Snapchat Lens Studio was started in 2017 as a way for artists and developers to build augmented reality experiences for millions of Snapchat users. A few years ago Snapchat started “Lens Fest” to celebrate the year’s published lenses. This year was the 1st one to feature Lens Fest Awards, which recognizes nine incredible AR experiences from 2021 across nine categories, including “Best in Art & Expression” and “Best in Utility”.