Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg is gradually expanding accessibility to the ‘Meta Horizon Worlds’ platform, making it available on smartphones in addition to virtual reality (VR) headsets. Launched in December 2021, Meta Horizon Worlds is a 3D avatar-based social platform for VR, offering a metaverse experience. This expansion aims to bring the metaverse experience to a wider global audience by allowing access to Horizon Worlds via smartphones and desktops.
Horizon Worlds is currently available in select countries, including Canada, France, Iceland, Ireland, Spain, the UK, and the US. The company’s plans to launch the platform in other locations, such as India, remain uncertain at this time. Users in eligible locations can download the Horizon Worlds app, create avatars, and immerse themselves in the platform’s virtual ecosystem, where they can engage in games and interact with the community.
Meta’s Vision for Accessibility
Meta’s goal is to make the metaverse accessible to everyone, regardless of their device. While Quest headsets provide an immersive metaverse experience, Meta believes in offering multiple entry points. Bringing Horizon Worlds to more platforms is a step towards realizing this vision and expanding the metaverse experience to a broader audience.
Rebranding and Metaverse Challenges
In 2021, Mark Zuckerberg rebranded the company from Facebook to Meta, focusing on aligning the company’s branding and future with the metaverse. Despite the rebranding effort, Meta has reported losses in its metaverse division since its launch.
Meta’s metaverse-focused division, Reality Labs, incurred a significant loss of $13.7 billion (approximately Rs. 1,12,200 crore) last year. In its latest earnings call, Meta did not disclose the exact losses for its metaverse-related unit Reality Labs this quarter, but it acknowledged that more losses are expected in the future.
Potential Contribution to the US GDP
According to a study commissioned by Meta earlier this year, the metaverse could contribute as much as $760 billion (roughly Rs. 62,36,088 crore) or about 2.4 percent to the US annual gross domestic product (GDP) by 2035. To balance its losses, Meta is expanding metaverse-related features and services, such as Horizon Worlds, to be accessible via smartphones and desktops.
The rollout of Horizon Worlds to smartphones and desktops is gradual. Meta is testing these expansions, and access to Worlds on mobile and the web will be made available to more users over time as feedback is gathered and the experience evolves. The company plans to share more updates in the coming weeks and months.