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Meta’s flagship VR app is catching up to the NES by making A the jump button

Meta is making a big improvement to controls in its social VR platform Horizon Worlds: jump is being remapped to the A button, according to a blog post about the app’s new v94 update.

You might be surprised to hear that wasn’t the case before, especially given that the A button has been widely used for jumping in video games for decades. But before now, you jumped in Horizon Worlds by pressing the right thumbstick as if it was a button. If you ask me, that wasn’t ideal; not only is jump not where you might expect it to be but the right thumbstick is already used to rotate your character, so pushing down the stick to jump could also lead to accidental turns.

The A button as the default will be in effect for “all players and worlds” with the update, according to Meta. The update is already available for me. When I loaded into Horizon Worlds after updating, I got a notification about the change, and it was immediately in effect; I learned that by accident by pressing A without thinking about it and, well, my character jumped. If you want to switch back to the old way, you can do so from settings.

It’s a basic change, but one that could make Horizon Worlds more inviting for players, which is already struggling to keep users despite the billions Meta is investing in its metaverse efforts. As of last year, Horizon Worlds wasn’t very popular with Meta employees, either, and the company’s metaverse VP sent a memo to staff instituting a “quality lockdown” through the end of the year to fix “quality gaps and performance issues.” Earlier in January, the company also added some new moderation features to Horizon Worlds, including a way to prevent vote-to-kick spam.

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