Is Anyone Still “Trying to fall in love” with Horizon Worlds?

In yet more proof (like we needed any) that Facebook Meta is still falling quite short in making their virtual reality world Horizon Worlds a thing, Wired reporter Eric Ravenscraft tells his tale of trying to hold a holiday party inside that system. Spoilers: it was a big mess.

For starters, organizing an event using Horizon Worlds is far from intuitive. I spent a couple of hours trying to figure out how to add people to a group—without having to add coworkers as friends on my personal Facebook account. I eventually found an obscure tool that lets you generate a shareable link, much like Zoom, but it was far from intuitive. We all also had to go through a lengthy process involving updating apps, restarting our headsets, and creating new profiles, depending on how recently we'd touched our devices.

I was ready for the long haul. But the long haul wasn't very long. After about an hour and fifteen minutes, we called it. Most of our headsets were already flashing low-battery warnings. The Quest 2 is rated for two to three hours of battery life, but this depends on what you're doing with it, and the physics games and voice chat probably weren't helping.

Mostly, though, it was getting tiring and awkward. At least on my end. Taking a sip of cider meant pushing up my headset, which in turn dropped me out of the game and cut off the voice chat. My face was getting sore from the pressure of the headset—despite the fact that I'd bought the nigh-mandatory Elite Strap to make it sit better on my head.


What strikes me as the most surprising part about all of Meta's efforts to push this stuff as "the next big thing" is the fact that dead-simple things like getting people connected and playing, is a blocker. If you've ever used Zoom, you know how incredibly easy it is to create a meeting, share a link to participants, and you're done. They join with almost no effort. Compare that to most other online meeting systems (especially pre-COVID) and you can see why Zoom became a household name in 2020.

Even Normals could use it.

Normals are not going to endure VR with 2-hour battery life. Normals are not going to endure a cludgy way to connect with friends and play. Normals are not going to buy expensive equipment to strap to their face unless there's a hell of a compelling reason to do so.

Nerdy people like me barely want to do this. And until Meta understands the friction of this all, a system with circa 2006 graphics that is basically Second Life and trying to get people to hold work meetings with a thing strapped to your face, is never going to catch on; regardless of how much money Zuckerberg pours into the dumpster. People are not "going to fall in love with it".