Facebook’s virtual reality metaverse is getting a major upgrade. After a year of being floating torsos, people in Horizon Worlds are finally getting feet. The feature is set to launch sometime in 2023. Please clap.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed the feature during the Meta Connect event on Tuesday by walking out in VR on a wood-paneled stage as a full blown, Fortnite-looking avatar while a bunch of old, legless Horizon Worlds avatars clapped in the audience. In addition to having legs and feet, Zuckerberg’s face and body also looked a lot less soulless than in the previous iteration. “I know you’ve been waiting for this,” Zuckerberg said as he spoke at length about VR’s hottest new feature, feet.
The head of Meta was roasted back in August after he posted an extremely haunting and underwhelming selfie of his VR avatar posing next to a low-res mini-Eiffthe Tower. He followed up a few days later with a more life-like rendering of his face that he said would be coming to Horizon in the future.
Today’s model is clearly an extension of that early rendering, and finally brings the VR platform past the likes of Fire Emblem: Awakening on the Nintendo 3DS, another game that lacked legs. And that was with Meta only spending $10 billion this year on the technology. Who knows what another small fortune will bring? If anything can catapult the Oculus storefront into the green, it’s a burgeoning market for VR feet pics. It might seem like we’re being ridiculous here, but do know that the live chat alongside the virtual audience watching all of this unfold absolutely exploded when Zuckerberg started talking about feet.
Zuckerberg said the more customizable and detailed models will begin rolling out next year. The leg update will be a part of a company-wide push to make sure people’s avatars, from their facial expressions to their clothing, are available in other parts of the Oculus platform as well. Interoperability—the idea of a user’s objects and appearance following them from one virtual reality to another—is a big challenge for companies with ambitions of creating a so-called “metaverse.” Zuckerberg spent various other points during today’s Meta Connect talking about collaborations with other companies to make that possible, including Microsoft, whose team meetings and other productivity tools will be integrated with Oculus VR. He also really emphasized that legs were hard, guys, and that’s why it took them so long to integrate.
Even without seamless movement from one part of the Oculus platform to the next, at least now Horizon avatars can play soccer. Meta announced Game Pass was coming to VR today. Maybe Switch Sports will arrive some day too. That would be one way to convince Meta employees to actually use Horizon.