Meta plans to open up Horizon Worlds (HW) to younger teens soon! It’s an exciting development that could hugely impact Meta’s virtual reality experience and create unique opportunities for a generation that has grown up using virtual environment platforms like Roblox and Minecraft. But what does this mean for existing world creators on Horizon Worlds? And how can they make sure their worlds are ready for a younger audience? Let’s take a look at three key ways world creators can prepare for a younger audience on Horizon Worlds.
Tone Down Adult Content & Plan Accordingly
The first and perhaps most obvious tip is to ensure that any adult content in your world is toned down or removed entirely before it opens up to younger teens. This means removing mature language, themes, or images from your world. Ensure your content is appropriate for kids as young as 13, even if you don’t think they’ll be playing in your world.
Horizon Worlds allows the world creator to choose the intended age for their world to help ensure that older teens and adults only see your content. However, it’s not fail-proof. It’s always safer to be cautious and ensure your world isn’t too mature for younger players. I’ve encountered several children using their parent’s accounts on Horizon Worlds. As world creators, this is something we should take into account. For example, we discuss real-life stories at the Killer Bee Studios on Horizon Worlds. Some of those stories are not ideal for people under 18. Yes, we have the world set for 18+, but that does not guarantee younger teens won’t visit the world or event.
Our team is in the process of developing a new studio that will have multiple levels. The first floor is for hanging out with friends, playing games, and building relationships. Ideal for all ages. The second floor will be the main studio level, where we host live interviews. If the topic being discussed is not ideal for teens, we will have an extra level of security put into place where visitors must answer a few questions with our virtual bouncer to gain access to the second level. If those questions are not answered correctly, they will not be permitted access to level two for the live show. However, they’re welcome to hang out on level one with their friends, play games, etc. We also have a third level in the plans, but I’ll keep that to myself for now. 😉
Design for Different Ages
I’m not a game developer, but if you’re designing a new game or activity specifically for younger players, remember that their experience and maturity level may not match those of older players. Design with these differences in mind and avoid making activities too hard or too easy based on the age range you’re targeting.
Create Appropriate Rules
Finally, ensure you have appropriate rules and guidelines before opening up your world to younger teens. This includes everything from profanity to harassment policies, both of which should be tailored to fit the age range of your players. It also includes having clear consequences in place so that players know exactly what will happen if they break any rules or regulations set forth by you or Horizon Worlds itself. At the Killer Bee Studios, we have studio rules:
- No Harassment
- No Vulgar Language
- Bee Respectful
- Bee Kind
- Have Fun!
I expect to see Meta step up its rules and policies on Horizon Worlds later this year, and maybe we’ll even have the opportunity to set world-specific rules and guidelines in the near future.
KillerB Closing Thought
Opening up Horizon Worlds to younger teens could be a great opportunity for existing creators to reach out to a new demographic and grow their connections even further. With Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse investment, I’m sure his team already has ideas and tools to help Horizon Worlds creators navigate an audience of younger people on HW. My closing thought would be to encourage creators to take the time to prepare their worlds accordingly; by following the three tips outlined above, creators can help set themselves up for success when Horizon Worlds opens its doors to younger users! With some thoughtful preparation now, there’s no telling how far you’ll go. 🚀
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