At the Meta Connect conference on Tuesday, the company made a big deal out of saying VR has transformed from a solitary to a social and shared experience. The company accentuated that in Horizon Worlds, people play games, record podcasts, make music, and “roast marshmallows” (that’s a real quote). And beginning next year, folks will also get to hang out in special experiences around their favourite NBC Universal shows and movies, such as The Office.
Vishal Shah, Meta’s vice president of metaverse, said the company had brokered a multi-year collaboration agreement with NBC Universal to bring its “iconic content to life through experiences in the metaverse.” Besides The Office, experiences will feature content from Universal Monsters, DreamWorks, Blumhouse, Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights, and more, Shah revealed. In addition, the VP said that the Peacock app was coming to Quest.
According to Shah, fans will get to hang out in these virtual spaces in Horizon Worlds and at Universal Studios. The NBC Universal experiences will be co-created by Meta and the media company.
“Fans will be able to engage in these experiences in Horizon Worlds, at Universal Studios theme parks, and customise their avatars,” Shah said.
Assuming the experiences at Universal theme parks use communal headsets, I would feel a bit icky using headsets a whole lot of other people have used. It’s something you’re putting on your face. At the same time, I’m just not going to lug a personal Quest headset around a theme park.
What does all this mean? Likely, that Meta is hoping to entice more folks into Horizon Worlds by dangling their favourite content in front of them like a carrot. Andrew Bosworth, Meta’s CTO who is also leading Reality Labs, seemed to confirm this, saying that the company wanted to build out Horizon Worlds as the next-generation social platform, where the connection with others happens “in real-time.” Shah agreed.
“It always comes back to wanting to feel connected, and if we really want the metaverse to feel social, we need to open these worlds and experiences to everyone,” the metaverse VP said.
On the other hand, I can’t wait to get my own version of Shrek’s swamp, so I can yell at people to get out of it!