Meta has added legs to its Quest Home avatars after almost a year of waiting, in what is seen as a step closer to a more human-like metaverse.
This development was initially announced in 2022 at the Connect Conference.
The legless characters
According to Gizmodo, adding legs to avatars seems to have been Mark Zuckerberg’s key focus area to prove critics wrong who believe the company is “wasting” billions of dollars on nothing. Despite having one of the best-funded research operations, Meta’s avatars in its flagship metaverse project “aren’t much to look at compared to the graphics you’d expect on modern video game platforms.”
Currently, avatars in Meta’s metaverse have no legs. They appear floating, running around “as a torso with arms and a head,” according to Gizmodo, and this was one of the major sources of ridicule for Meta’s metaverse.
Third person visibility
Now, the latest feature, which has been almost a year in development, has just been released to beta users of Meta’s Quest software. According to a Game is Hard article, the legs are only visible in a third-person view or when users interact with virtual mirrors, which means looking down won’t show the user their legs. This has been due to limited tracking options in the available consumer VR systems. Legs have not yet been integrated into the VR version of Horizon Worlds.
“People will start to see avatar legs appear (in the VR version of Quest Home),” Meta communications manager Eliza Kern told The Verge.
She added that they will be available in Horizon Worlds over the next few weeks.
The update will be available to all players, not just public beta testers, according to a separate email confirming the developments. However, users who are part of the testing pool on mobile and the web have the option of experiencing legs. Meta had initially said they would introduce legs in Horizon Worlds before other platforms, but it seems they have not yet updated their software developer kit for avatars, according to Game is Hard.
The new Leg IK for Meta is a good start. They kept their opinion that you should only see them as a third person view
The lack of crouching is probably the most glaring issue of it so far. But progress 🤷 pic.twitter.com/0s5jmIvuvW
— Brad Lynch (@SadlyItsBradley) August 29, 2023
A potential issue with the introduction of legs to Quest is that when users sit down in real life, their avatars, which are not yet able to track leg movement, could end up creating awkward poses, which could be distracting for other users.
In a post on X (formerly Twitter), one user identified as Brad Lynch said that despite some shortcomings, this was “a good start.”
“The lack of crouching is probably the most glaring issue with it so far. But progress.”
“I do still want crouching but yeah, this is a step in the right direction,” said another user responding to Brad’s post.
Others, however, feel Meta is not doing enough or does not have a clear understanding of the industry.
“Progress? On what? Horizons is one of the least appealing VR applications on the market, and that’s saying a lot. Let’s be honest: Meta isn’t a VR software developer. They should stick to OS’s at most (which they already can’t do well),” said Lamorak.
Chotto Dragon opines that the people working on Meta’s VR solutions are “not VR users.”
Meta will host Connect 2023 next month. Maybe more information will be presented.