Update March 14, 2022:
Today, we’re announcing an update to our recently launched Personal Boundary for Horizon Worlds that will give people more control over their VR experience. The roughly 4-foot distance between your avatar and others will remain on by default for non-friends, and now you’ll be able to adjust your Personal Boundary from the Settings menu in Horizon Worlds.
Based on community feedback, you can now choose from three options that give our community more customized controls so they can decide how they want to interact in their VR experiences:
These new options should make it easier to high-five, fist-bump, and take selfies with other avatars while in Horizon Worlds. And when two people meet, Personal Boundary will default to the more restrictive setting (for example, if your Personal Boundary is Off but the avatar you’re interacting with has Personal Boundary set to On for Everyone, there will be a roughly 4-foot distance between you). In Horizon Venues, Personal Boundary will be default on at roughly 4 feet for everyone.
Developing for VR presents what are perhaps some of the hardest challenges we’ve tackled in a generation of computing now that we’re no longer limited by fixed viewpoints and traditional flatscreen devices. By preventing avatars from coming within a set distance of each other, Personal Boundary creates more personal space for people and makes it easier to avoid unwanted interactions. We’ll continue to iterate and make improvements as we learn more about how Personal Boundary impacts people’s experiences in VR.
Today, we’re announcing Personal Boundary for Horizon Worlds and Horizon Venues. Personal Boundary prevents avatars from coming within a set distance of each other, creating more personal space for people and making it easier to avoid unwanted interactions. Personal Boundary will begin rolling out today everywhere inside of Horizon Worlds and Horizon Venues, and will by default make it feel like there is an almost 4-foot distance between your avatar and others. Over time, we’ll continue to make improvements as we learn how this affects people’s experiences.
A Personal Boundary prevents anyone from invading your avatar’s personal space. If someone tries to enter your Personal Boundary, the system will halt their forward movement as they reach the boundary. You won’t feel it—there is no haptic feedback. This builds upon our existing hand harassment measures that were already in place, where an avatar’s hands would disappear if they encroached upon someone’s personal space.
We are intentionally rolling out Personal Boundary as always on, by default, because we think this will help to set behavioral norms—and that’s important for a relatively new medium like VR. In the future, we’ll explore the possibility of adding in new controls and UI changes, like letting people customize the size of their Personal Boundary.
Note that because Personal Boundary is the default experience, you’ll need to extend your arms to be able to high-five or fist bump other people’s avatars in Horizon Worlds or in Horizon Venues.
Virtual reality can and should be for everyone. And we’re constantly working to improve people’s experience in VR, gathering feedback from the community to inform our work as we continue to iterate and make improvements.
We believe Personal Boundary is a powerful example of how VR has the potential to help people interact comfortably. It’s an important step, and there’s still much more work to be done. We’ll continue to test and explore new ways to help people feel comfortable in VR.