Last week we got the chance to briefly test out Facebook Horizon and chat with key members of the development team about a wide range of topics. You can read our hands-on impressions and some details about privacy concerns here.
During that interview though, we dove into several other topics as well such as possible hand-tracking support in Horizon and even the potential for release on other headsets, officially, later down the line.
Specifically, this is what Ari Grant, Horizon’s Product Management Director, had to say on the topic of hand-tracking support in Facebook Horizon:
“We’re really excited about all of the upcoming platform features, hardware changes, where the entire industry is going and to include as much as we can in Horizon to give people deep presence, to really feel there with people and can connect.
And so really do want to look to incorporate as many of these as possible. We don’t have specific dates to announce that any of the features yet, but in general, trying to really optimize toward friendship and community, helping people, foster connections, the things that help boost those things are going to be a priority.
It is really, really important that this is a place where people can connect. So really the features that help do so are definitely going to be important for us to, to build much more near term.”
Shifting gears a bit, we proceeded to ask them what their plan was to incentivize an early influx of games and developer talent for inside of Horizons itself beyond just the community of players/makers.
This is what Meaghan Fitzgerald, Facebook Reality Labs’ Head of Experiences for Product Marketing, had to say:
“That’s an interesting question. We’re not working with any of the game studios, first-party, in-house. I think they probably would bring an interesting perspective, but we’re kind of working on different things right now. But I think we’re, we’re interested to see how people with a range of skills jump in and use the world creation tools.
And I think that it’s been interesting to see how someone with a little bit more of a coding or a world creation background is able to create like much more interactive scaled experiences, multiplayer games, and then somebody with no coding experience at all can make something that’s just a really pleasant environment to hang out in.
So we’re really excited for people with a lot of like background in game development to come in and stress, test the tools with us and give us that feedback. But also recognize that there is also a place for that next level of game development to make the VR ecosystem a lot broader.”
Now since Horizon is made by Facebook it’s natural to assume it would only officially work on actual Oculus headsets. And as a result, that is in fact the plan. We’ve got full details on the required Facebook account to login and play Oculus VR content in years’ to come.
In the meantime, I had to ask: Will Horizon ever come to other platforms and headsets like PSVR or all of the Steam VR PC devices? This was Grant’s response:
“Currently we’re focused on making Horizon a really awesome product on the Rift platform and Quest, and we have nothing else to share about this only about other platforms…
…We think the creation tools in VR are really great. One of the things about, you know, a lot of creation tools is creating with a mouse and keyboard is a lot to learn. You go to learn these 3D animation software, learn how to control cameras and a lot of nuance stuff. And in VR, you can just place it with your hands and build very directly.
And so making that fun, easy and accessible is, our current focus and don’t have anything to share about other platforms yet. The one thing I will say is we are trying to build communities and connect folks, and that is our ultimate north star is building community is connecting to your friends. And so using that as our north star, whatever we can do to help connect people will be our primary motivator, recognizing that not everyone’s in VR, but still currently focused on VR initially to build the community.”
Hopefully you enjoyed checking out the interview and will consider reading our hands-on preview for more details.