This Week In XR: Meta Opens Horizon Worlds, Epic’s Metaverse City Coming To Unreal Engine 5

Horizon Worlds is opened by Meta. Horizon Worlds, Meta’s highly anticipated social VR environment that was announced with great excitement more than two years ago and was in limited beta for nearly a year, is now accessible and free for anybody with a Meta Quest.

I observed firsthand how Meta spent the previous year perfecting the Horizon avatar system and creative building tools as a beta user. In many ways, this gigantic project is the pinnacle of the Meta metaverse strategy.

Horizon Worlds is visually appealing. With a meticulously constructed interface, palette, and design, it’s Disney-clean and light. It’s lovely, considerate, and professional work.

Meta has created the most compelling avatar system in all of XR. You actually believe the cartoon avatar you are talking to is looking you in the eyes. The hand gestures are just about perfect.

However, not everything about this new system is gold and glitters. A closed system that does not interact with common gaming engines has a lot of drawbacks.

Blender and Maya are not available to content makers. Builders are unable to use their own 3D models or elements from Sketchfab or TurboQuid in their projects.

Creators are bound within Meta’s look and can only build with Meta’s tools for the time being. Although Meta claims to seek an open Metaverse, their most popular social VR project is only available to Quest owners.


Epic Games has released a 3D virtual environment built on UE5 that is free to play and explore. Epic Games’ Unreal Engine has published a free video game for PS5 and Xbox Series X/S to coincide with the release of the new The Matrix Awakens film.

With the release of Unreal Engine 5 next year, all developers will be able to access the virtual city that serves as the setting for this quest. For no cost. The city is slightly larger than downtown L.A., with a width of 4.138 km and a length of 4.968 km.

There are 260 kilometers of highways, 512 kilometers of sidewalks, 1,248 crossroads, 17,000 destructible simulated traffic vehicles on the road (thanks to UE 5’s “chaos engine”), and 45,073 parked cars.

Developers can switch to night mode when the millions of emissive building windows provide practically all of the lighting.

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