Meta Horizon Worlds Case Study
Platform: Meta Quest, Meta Horizon
Role: Sr. XR Designer
The Future of Social Media
This is a report that I put together to summarize my thoughts on Meta Horizon and how it could be used as a marketing tool. I covered a couple of different branded Horizon Worlds of what I perceived to be varying in size or complexity;
MINI Cooper - A small world
Fender Guitars - A medium world
Wendy's - A series of connected worlds
I assessed the various mechanics and gameplay features of each world for enjoyability and intuitiveness, what I think would have players return to the world, and potentially bring their friends.
Introduction to Meta Horizon
Meta Horizon is a virtual reality platform where users can explore different worlds, interact with other players, and participate in various activities such as mini games and quests.
Movement in VR is via the thumb sticks on the controllers. The player has options for movement that can be teleport, blinking the player from point A to point B, or a smooth slide more akin to traditional video first person video games.
The black vignette you will see at the edge of the screen is to prevent motion sickness during smooth movement.
All of this footage was captured from my own Meta Quest.
Compared to some of the other experiences we will review, the MINIverse had the smallest foot print in terms of travel distance. This is relative, as the environment itself is more complex than some of the others, and polygons are a limiting factor.
Customization is a huge part of the MINI brand, and they included it here in their MINIverse as well. It was neat getting to personalize what would be my RC car, and seeing that some of the options were locked gave me a goal to strive for in the experience.
The Main Event!
The primary activity in this experience was to race RC MINI Coopers with your friends. It was a little difficult in practice, as the VR "steering wheel" is not fixed which breaks the immersion, but ultimately a great way of handling vehicle racing, as traditional driving in VR could be disorienting.
A neat feature included in this experience were ways for the crowd to interact with the race. Shown in the video here is a ramp activated by pressing a button, allowing the RC cars to catch some air. Not shown is another button that activates a spinning surface on the track before the finish line, adding to the chaos and fun!
The Fender Stratoverse
The first thing we notice about the Fender Stratoverse is the sheer size of the experience. The sweeping landscape of floating islands is breath taking and really plays to one of the strong points of VR, that is playing with our sense of space in interesting ways.
While it may not be obvious from the start, the approach after the introductory island makes it very clear this is a world based around guitars. Again, playing with the space here really plays to the strengths of VR. This area outlines the quest that needs to be completed for this world.
Air Guitar Solo!
In order to complete the quest, the player must collect the golden guitar picks. To do this, they must... wait for it... AIR GUITAR! Probably one of the most genius uses of VR controllers I've ever seen, something so ubiquitous, everyone has done at some point in their life, is the key to the puzzles. Unlike the MINI steering wheels, this still maintains perfect immersion.
The Wendysverse is a connected series of Horizon Worlds all themed around Wendy's food items. The central world is itself a Wendy's restaurant, which misses the mark. I think trying to recreate something from the real world in Meta Horizon does not play to the strengths of the platform.
One of the unique features of Meta Horizon verses another mixed reality platform like Roblox, is the native connection between worlds. This allows for players to easily move between different themes and worlds, together as a group.
Spicy Nug Island
Wendy's Spicy Nug Island was interesting to look at. They did a good job, like the Stratoverse, of providing wide open spaces and playing with the player's sense of space. There were some little activities to do, that don't require much faculty, allowing players to focus on socializing with friends.
Basketball in VR is nothing new, but Wendy's did it in fun casual way. It took a couple tries, but was very satisfying once I finally landed a basket. It felt odd that the stands were empty.
A little something extra
T-Shirt Gun. Enough said.