Earlier this week, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg took to the stage to demonstrate that—having spent billions of dollars to create a virtual reality universe (Horizon Worlds) that looked like it was from 2004—his company was working on improving that universe to make it look like it was from 2009 instead. Integral to this upgrade was the fact that avatars would no longer be mere floating torsos, but would soon have legs.
It was a very weird video existing in a very weird space, as Ethan wrote at the time:
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.
While the updates bringing full-body avatars aren’t expected until 2023, Zuckerberg was clearly seen jumping around in the video, giving everyone an early look at the tech. Or was he?
Anyone who has ever been around—*checks the culture*—any piece of marketing ever made should know by now that not everything is as it seems when a company is trying to sell you something. And in this case, the video Meta showed off was made with some help.
As UploadVR’s Ian Hamilton has since reported, Meta has issued a follow-up statement, which says, “To enable this preview of what’s to come, the segment featured animations created from motion capture.”
Deep down, of course, you all knew this. From vertical slices at E3 to photo tricks shown at Apple events, there are always grains of salt we need to chew on every time a company trying to sell us something that isn’t out yet.
But there’s something especially funny about this in particular, that a project that has spent billions of dollars to look like a Kinect demo—a piece of hardware first shown off in 2009—has ended up with its own dumb feet-related moment.
Who knows, maybe when it’s eventually released the tech will looks exactly like this! Maybe it won’t. Maybe none of us will ever actually use Horizon Worlds and it will remain a mystery forever.