Meta Is Adding a Garbled Voice Option for Strangers in Horizon Worlds

Meta is giving people more control over their Horizon Worlds VR experience with a new Voice Mode setting.

Rolling out in the coming weeks, the feature lets metaverse users choose how they hear folks not on their friends list—including the option to mute unwanted conversations entirely.

By default, all nearby voices are heard at the same volume. Voice Mode’s Garbled Voices feature (Settings > Sound > Voice Mode) turns non-friends’ chatter into unintelligible, but friendly audio that should be easy to ignore.

Meta built the function to help users feel more comfortable or safe in its virtual world; when Voice Mode is activated, strangers will see an icon above your name indicating you can’t hear them—”so they don’t feel like you’re ignoring them,” a company blog announcement said(Opens in a new window). To temporarily un-garble someone’s speech without having to add them as a new friend, simply raise the controller to your ear.

If you’re looking to take a quiet stroll through the digital space, meanwhile, turn off the “Incoming Voice” feature entirely (you will still hear anyone in a party chat with you).

Meta Horizon Worlds sounds settings
“The features we’re sharing today come in addition to others we’ve recently shipped,” the firm said, highlighting Horizon Worlds’ personal boundary, which allows folks to set a four-foot distance between anyone or any non-friend. Community Guides can also now send educational warnings as a pop-up to people being disruptive.

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Facebook parent company Meta in April began testing the ability for creators to sell virtual items and effects like cosmetics for avatars and special access passes within Horizon Worlds. It comes at a cost, though: On top of the 30% platform fee for purchases through the Quest store, Meta will take an additional 25% for in-world sales.

Horizon Worlds(Opens in a new window) is available for people aged 18 and older to download for free on Quest 2 in the US, Canada, and, starting this week, the UK. Meta plans to roll out the platform to more European countries later this summer.

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