Meta has announced the planned opening of Horizon Worlds to young people – but only in North America for now.
In the company’s Quest Blog, Meta announced that the social VR app Horizon Worlds will be made available to teens between the ages of 13 and 17 in the coming weeks. New age-appropriate protection and safety measures will be in place to ensure the protection of minors.
Initially, only teens in the US and Canada will be able to access Horizon Worlds. Meta will also be opening the app to teens in phases to monitor usage patterns before opening it to the masses.
New Safety Features for Teens
To ensure the safe use of Horizon Worlds by teenagers, Meta has invested in a number of new safety features. These include new back-end protection and parental control tools. Teen profiles are set to private by default and do not show their online status to others.
In addition, Meta will not display unknown adults to teens in the “People you might know” tab. Voice mode, which turns the voices of strangers into friendly sounds and distorts your own voice, will also be enabled by default.
Parental access to profiles
Parents can review worlds with their children before they are made available to younger players. Parents also have access to all profile settings and can adjust or block all features. For example, they can set the personal boundary, a personal interaction limit that other avatars cannot cross.
It also provides a history of which apps the teens have used, as well as the total time spent in Horizon Worlds and using the VR headset. Individual apps can then be unlocked or blocked.
Horizon Worlds: Teens to boost numbers
Meta’s plans for a more youthful Horizon Worlds were revealed in February when the Wall Street Journal quoted from an internal memo. It stated that in the future, teenagers and young adults should be increasingly targeted, similar to competing platforms Roblox and Fortnite.
The reason for this is probably the steadily declining user numbers of Horizon Worlds, which could be counteracted with a new, younger target group. Until now, Horizon Worlds has been restricted to users over the age of 18, although the Meta Quest, Quest 2 and Quest Pro VR goggles are generally approved for users over the age of 13.
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