Meta expands the “miniverse” with new Horizon Worlds experiences
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Meta announced two new applications from big enterprises using the Horizon Worlds metaverse tools. Guitar maker Fender Musical Instruments announced its Fender Stratoverse and BMW Group showed off its MINIverse.
The new Horizon Worlds apps debuted at the Cannes Lions event and are available to all U.S. and Canada Meta Quest 2 virtual reality headset users. Brands are rushing into the metaverse, as we’ve seen just yesterday with the merger of Admix and Landvault to create metaverse experiences for brands. And Meta is investing at a rate of $3 billion in losses per quarter in its Reality Labs division to build out the metaverse.
“If you tried something (in the metaverse) two or three years ago, it has changed so much,” said Meta’s Nicola Mendelsohn, head of the global business group, in a press event. “Every 10 to 15 years, there’s a really big shift in terms of computing platforms as to where things move on. So we have desktop, we move to mobile. And here we are now in this really fully immersive experience that you can have. And the true promise of the metaverse is really some still five to 10 years off. But that doesn’t mean that people aren’t getting engaged and involved today. And we’re really seeing brands coming together.”
These announcements seem to balance the creation of gathering places and games. The former is more for social experiences in the metaverse, the universe of virtual worlds that are all interconnected, like in novels such as Snow Crash and Ready Player One. Whereas games are more like a way to get players deeply engaged in gameplay. I would wonder which users will be more enthralled with, and I would guess it would be games.
“It is not about replicating what we do in the real world. That’s not the point of it,” Mendelsohn said. “It’s about changing the ways that we come together. And you’ll see the feeling of presence that you have is extraordinary. Nor is it about building a world that is fixed. I have had a sneak peek and I can tell you what both of them made me smile and they made me smile for different reasons.”
BMW Group partnered with Pereira O’Dell, Creative Shop and Meta Horizon Worlds, creators John Burnap, Jordan Marcotte and Malcolm Langille to make the MINIVerse. The VR experience tries to create an exciting Go-Kart racing game with up to four drivers.
Players can drive a MINI around a gravity-defying track. Spectators can interfere to help or create chaos – press buttons to flick cars off a ramp, or to block them with “whac-a-mole” style pins, or even to help friends with timely speed boosts.
Players can customize their virtual ride for the track and unlock a special EV MINI model as they win more races. Players will have fun customizing their MINI, changing its colors, adding bonnet stripes and a contrast roof. They can try different racing suits and unlock other MINI vehicles in their quest to top the leaderboard and challenge friends.
Sebastian Warfield, chief marketing officer of the MINI brand of the BMW Group, said he was excited to be the first automotive brand to move into the virtual space of Horizon. “We were all thrilled about the concept of taking what I think undoubtedly is the most fun to drive car to the metaverse. It was not about just replicating what you could experience in the real world. It was really adding to that.”
Players can defy gravity as they race. Players can customize their MINIs and express their own individual taste, he said. The community already has millions of fans, Warfield said, and now they have a new social space to come together.
Rock on in the Fender Stratoverse
The Fender Stratoverse Horizon Worlds is a Stratocaster guitar-shaped island surrounded by floating
islands. It has giant Fender guitar amps and planets floating high above in the stratosphere and features a co-play audio experience to create original music riffs.
In collaboration with R/GA, Creative Shop and Meta Horizon Worlds creators Ashley Briley, Matt Torres and Sammy Nu of VRinReview, the Fender Stratoverse is a collaborative destination, where visitors go on a virtual scavenger hunt, find chords throughout the Stratoverse, and bring them together to create eautiful combinations of music.
Players begin by dropping down onto the headstock of the Stratocaster guitar-shaped island, and are
onboarded to the main attraction once they’ve walked down the neck of the guitar and reach the Riff
To participate, people are invited to search the world together to find guitar chords, represented by
sparkling colored Fender picks. Once a pick is unlocked, it becomes available to anyone in the world back
at the Riff Maker where it can be placed in one of the 18 spots in the Riff Maker to add their chord to
the looping community riff.
Players can move the pick around within the riff, and also have the option to duplicate it or modify it by changing it from a major to a minor chord – or making it sharp or flat. The world has a few easter eggs for fans including air guitar zones, four special golden picks that unlock the ability to record your riff and additional planets to venture to on a flying Fender foot pedal to play back your music creations.
“We could not be more pleased to have been invited by Meta to bring Fender into the metaverse for the
first time,” Evan Jones, chief marketing officer at Fender, in a statement. “As a brand we are committed to enabling all forms of musical expression and are thrilled by the potential this technology has to allow Fender fans and creators to come together, play, and create across borders, cultures, and from any distance.”
To experience the Worlds, you can search MINIverse or Stratoverse in Meta Horizon Worlds. As part of
Meta’s presence at Cannes Lions, there will be connecting doors to both brand worlds within the Meta
Horizon Worlds Pavilion demos at Meta Beach. Plus, in partnership with Meta Spark, there will also be
AR effects accessed through QR codes that create unique ways to sample each world.
“We’re really excited about this whole new crop of creatives coming through,” said Nicky Bell, vice president and global head of Creative Shop, in a press event. “No one has been taught how to build these worlds. It’s new technology. And so having creators there at the forefront of that craft, and really understanding how to build, is really important. The other thing that we’re really focused on is thinking about the community.”
Mendelsohn said there are 16 million new guitar players in the market since the pandemic started in 2020. And she said there are 10,000 new worlds already built in Horizon Worlds.
Megan Trinidad, executive creative director at R/GA, said in the press briefing she partnered with Horizon Worlds creators to work with Fender.
“What we really did was partner them with experienced suppliers on our side to really understand what an experience could be that would bring the fan and Fender brand ethos to life,” she said. “This was a huge opportunity to partner with vendors to really test what was within the Horizon World.”
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