Last year, Facebook (now known as Meta) announced that it was adding legs to its ugly virtual reality avatars. Some people were excited. Now a year later, after Meta promised the legs were coming soon, they are finally (sort of) working inside the company’s depressing digital “metaverse”. Should we…cheer?
Let me take you back to August 2022, around a year after the initial release of Horizon Worlds—Meta’s free, online virtual reality metaverse project. People were dunking on Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg after he posted a selfie from inside Horizon Worlds. The photo looked sad and decidedly ugly, and featured Horizon’s legless, low-fidelity digital avatars. That terrible image got roasted so hard that he later explained that, actually, Facebook’s avatars would be getting a big graphical update (so stop being so mean). In October last year, Zuckerberg showed off the newly improved avatars and also previewed that they would all have working legs. A release date of sometime in 2023 was promised, and then a few days later we learned that the whole video featuring the legs was fake and featured mo-cappedmocapped animations.
Now it’s almost a year later. The buzz around the metaverse concept has long since died and grifters have moved on to AI tech. But as UploadVR reported on August 28, Meta has finally added legs to its horrific online video game. They just…come with a few asterisks.
First, you can’t crouch or jump. I mean, you can, Meta can’t stop you from doing those things while wearing a VR headset. But your in-world avatar’s legs won’t recreate those moves. Secondly, the legs only show up in third-person views, like when other people look at you. So if you look down, you’ll see you still have a lot in common with most protagonists from 1990s shooters. While you can perceive your own legs via in-game mirrors, Meta seems to believe they aren’t needed in first-person.
Further, the legs are only available to players who have access to v57 of the Horizon public test channel and can only be seen in Horizon Home, not in user-created games or Horizon Worlds. However, Meta did tell UploadVR that these new digital legs will be added to the rest of the game’s worlds over the next few weeks.
That’s a lot of caveats, but I guess, technically, Meta did ship the legs in 2023. So congrats on sticking to a deadline.
Of course, the real question is: How many people in 2023 are actually excited to hop back into Zuck’s boring (and unprofitable) matrix? Even last year we heard reports that Horizon Worlds was basically a ghost town and that Meta’s own staff didn’t like playing or working in the company’s metaverse. Somehow, I doubt crappy virtual legs will change any of that.