Horizon Worlds heads to the UK with new privacy-focused features

UK flag behind the doors in Horizon Worlds
(Image credit: Meta / Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Meta's Horizon Worlds is making its debut in the U.K. the week of June 13, with a wider European rollout later this Summer.
  • Meta plans smartphone and web versions of Horizon Worlds later this year, as well.
  • New privacy features include garbled voices from strangers and a new warning tool for people who are being disruptive.

Meta is officially expanding access to Horizon Worlds — that's the company's first metaverse-like concept virtual world — to the green shores of Britain and the wider U.K. starting the week of June 13, 2022. Horizon Worlds officially launched in North America back in December 2021 and is planned to have a wider European rollout later this Summer.

The news of Horizon Worlds' expansion comes alongside the Quest v41 update, which rebrands the home screen to Horizon Home, bringing a slew of new social features to the Quest home screen. We're also expecting smartphone and web versions later this year as Meta ramps up its goal to be a leader in the metaverse space.

In Horizon Worlds, players can openly visit thousands of virtual worlds that are all interlinked through a friendly interface and the mandatory use of Facebook accounts. Players can create their own worlds, as well, and Meta has previously held contests for the best creations, giving away cash prizes in the tens of thousands of dollars to the winners. If you're going to be spending hours in Horizon Worlds, you might want to consider getting a great Quest 2 head strap first.

But few things are more annoying in multiplayer VR sessions than players who don't know how to respect personal boundaries or behave themselves in public situations. That's also why Meta is launching two important new safety features with the latest update.

The first is the new garbled speech mode, which can be toggled on and will keep other players from openly talking to you without a very specific "translation" gesture. Holding your right hand to your ear will "ungarble" the speech of one player, helping keep obscenities and other less-than-savory speech from being openly yelled across a virtual lobby.

The second new safety feature comes in the form of warnings that can be issued to players who continue to violate personal space requests (or other offensive behavior), giving folks an opportunity to clean up their act before being officially reported. Meta previously launched the Safe Zone to give players a place to detach from the virtual world for a moment and report any obnoxious or offensive players.

Nicholas Sutrich
Senior Content Producer — Smartphones & VR
Nick started with DOS and NES and uses those fond memories of floppy disks and cartridges to fuel his opinions on modern tech. Whether it's VR, smart home gadgets, or something else that beeps and boops, he's been writing about it since 2011. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram @Gwanatu