If there’s one thing to be said about Meta’s (also known as the company formerly known as Facebook) ambitious dive into a massive virtual reality social experience, it’s that there’s a lot of potential. That said, Horizon Worlds rarely seems to come close to living up to what it seems truly capable of. The burgeoning platform seems to be going through a series of growing pains that’s, for good or ill, the virtual reality equivalent of puberty, complete with ill-timed pimples, awkwardly fitting clothes, and of course, an overabundance of hormones. And just like puberty, it’s likely to be something the platform grows out of over time, but still has to be dealt with in the meantime.
On the surface, it feels like Horizon Worlds has the pieces in place to be something great, and yet it just misses the mark. There are a lot of customization options for creating your avatar, but not quite enough to keep them from still feeling somewhat generic. And when it comes to creating your own unique content, the tools exist to build some interesting projects, but there’s not much direction to show users exactly how to do so. Worse, something that might have worked one way one day might be changed completely around the next time a user logs in, essentially breaking the content. Finally, since Horizon Worlds is still in its early phase, moderation feels almost non-existent. Between strangers trying to chime in with inappropriate conversations or even the occasional bit of user content that seems to exist just to see how much someone could get away with, a trip to Horizon Worlds can sometimes feel less like an encouraging peek into VR’s future and more like a cautionary tale.