Meta has announced that it’s making its Horizon Worlds VR creation and interaction platform available to all users in the US and Canada, which will serve as a key introduction to VR for many new Meta VR users who are set to find a headset under the Christmas tree this year.
As explained by Meta:
“Horizon Worlds is a social VR experience where you can create and explore together. Since launching as an invite-only beta last year, we’ve been amazed by the community that’s begun to form and inspired by the unique experiences they’ve built.”
As you can see in the video, Horizon Worlds is kind of like the main city in The Lego Movie, where users can build whatever they like, and invite others to join in the experience. There are also various applications and options within Horizon where you can meet with friends and hang out, or play games, take quizzes, etc.
Though no legs. Legs are not welcome in the metaverse, at least at this stage.
The expansion of access to Horizon Worlds comes at a key time, with sales of Quest 2 headsets already three times higher than previous VR devices, based on estimates. Last month, Qualcomm, which provides chips for Quest units, said that Meta had already sold 10 million Quest 2 systems, and while Meta hasn’t provided any official sales figures, the indicators are that many more people are now paying attention to VR, which has likely been boosted by the company’s metaverse-inspired name change.
Given this, it’s expected, as noted, that there’ll be quite a few Quest 2 units encased in festive wrapping paper right now, and with these new users set to come online in the next few weeks, Meta will need to provide compelling experiences, and ideally, social VR tools, to capitalize on that attention.
While AR is set to play a big part in the next stage of digital engagement and interaction, the real, true vision of a fully immersive metaverse, which forms a computer-generated alternate reality, where anything is possible, can really only happen in VR.
That’s the vision Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg showcased back in October at Facebook Connect, when he unveiled the ‘Meta’ name change.
The only way to engage in fully immersive environments like this is via a VR headset, which is another reason why the expansion of Horizon Worlds is significant, and why Meta is keen to get it out there, and get the ball rolling in broader adoption of VR, which will also include new games (Meta’s adding a new ‘Arena Clash’ 3v3 laser tag game today, while other, more advanced games like ‘Grand Theft Auto’ are coming the VR soon) and other experiences.
Eventually, Horizon Worlds could be the next evolution of social media interaction, and as VR adoption increased, so too does the impetus for other people to get their own unit, in order to join their friends in this new experience.
The next stage of digital engagement is coming soon, as is the metaverse and more immersive creative options for connection.
Horizon Worlds is available to download for free on Quest 2 here.
LinkedIn Announces the Retirement of its LinkedIn Lite App
LinkedIn has announced that it’s shutting down LinkedIn Lite, its pared-back version of the platform, designed for users in regions with more restricted connectivity and data access provisions.
Originally launched back in 2017 as a way to help “level the playing field for all members when it comes to accessibility”, LinkedIn Lite includes the basic functionality of LinkedIn, and is designed to load faster, while also using less data, handy for regions with more restrictive data plans.
But as LinkedIn continues to evolve, the Lite app gets further behind, with the full app’s more advanced functionalities – like video connection, full profile display features, Creator Mode, etc. – all getting more and more distant from the streamlined tool.
And with global connectivity evolving, LinkedIn now feels confident that it can move on without the scaled-back variation, which could also help boost in-app engagement and usage, and make LinkedIn a more significant presence in key markets.
Which, as you can see here, are growing. Now at 810 million total members, LinkedIn continues to gain momentum in developing regions, especially India (85m members, up from 60m in 2019), South Africa (+2m since 2019), the Philippines (+3m) and Nigeria (+1m)
As with most social apps, India is a key focus, and LinkedIn says that Indian adoption of the full version of the app is now rising at 4x the global average, as mobile adoption continues to soar in the nation.
At the same time, retirement of the Lite app could also give LinkedIn’s team more opportunity to develop and maintain its new ‘InJobs’ app in China, with the full version of LinkedIn removed from China last October due to increasing regulatory pressure and scrutiny.
At 56 million users, maintaining connection with China is key, and maybe that’s another factor in LinkedIn’s decision to step away from its scaled-down version.
Either way, the LinkedIn Lite app will be removed from Android app stores on 27th January 27th, before being deactivated completely March 15th.
LinkedIn says that it will transition Lite app users over to the full LinkedIn experience over the next few weeks.
Twitter Shares New Insights into Rising Discussion Around the NFL Playoffs [Infographic]
Super Bowl LVI is just around the corner, which also means that we’ll soon see the biggest showcase of ad content of the year, highlighting new trends, creative activations and opportunities, which can sometimes re-shape advertising approaches from that moment forward.
And this year looks set to be particularly significant. As more people look towards a post-pandemic future, there’s a big opportunities for clever marketers to tap into this enthusiasm, and the various trends that come with it. That’ll likely see more innovative, integrated ad approaches, which will extend beyond the initial big game activations, and showcase new opportunities.
Twitter’s keen to cash in on that excitement. This week, Twitter’s published a new overview of user trends around the NFL playoffs, highlighting the huge boost in tweet activity heading into Super Bowl weekend.
As Twitter notes:
“In the 2022 Divisional Round alone, we saw 27% more impressions on Tweets about the NFL, 58% more Tweets overall, and 42% more unique authors, compared with one year ago.”
It could be a key platform for boosting your tie-in efforts – and if you are considering the potential of Twitter ads for your campaigns, then these new stats might help.
Twitter Shares New Insights into the Rising K-Pop Discussion in the App [Infographic]
Do you like K-pop?
Increasingly, the chances are that you do, given the massive growth of K-pop fandom around the world, with megabands like BTS and Blackpink building huge audiences, and each becoming cultural forces within themselves.
That fandom is most significantly present on Twitter, which has become a key hub for K-pop enthusiasts. K-pop tweeters are now so prominent that they even have the power to quash controversial hashtag movements, by banding together to flood the streams with K-pop-related tweets instead.
It’s amazing to see, and today, Twitter has shared some new insights into the rising K-pop conversation, which got even bigger, once again, in 2021.
As explained by Twitter:
“With a massive 7.8 billion global Tweets in 2021, #KpopTwitter once again showed its power by breaking its previous record of 6.7 billion Tweets in 2020. Registering a notable 16% increase in Tweet volume globally, #KpopTwitter conversations became more diverse and vibrant in 2021.”
So where, exactly, is K-pop discussion trending, and who are the big bands of note? Check out the below insights from Twitter – which also includes a list of rising K-pop stars if you want to get ahead of the curve.
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