Meta is working on legs for its avatars – but you’ll only see other people’s, not your own.
During his most recent Instagram “ask me anything” session, Meta’s CTO Andrew Bosworth was asked about leg tracking. He responded:
“Yeah we’ve been made fun of a lot for the legless avatars, and I think that’s very fair and I think it’s pretty funny.
Having legs on your own avatar that don’t match your real legs is very disconcerting to people. But of course we can put legs on other people, that you can see, and it doesn’t bother you at all.
So we are working on legs that look natural to somebody who is a bystander – because they don’t know how your real legs are actually positioned – but probably you when you look at your own legs will continue to see nothing. That’s our current strategy.”
Meta’s current avatar system, publicly released to developers late last year, currently show legs in the editor – but they aren’t included in the SDK and thus don’t appear in apps. Many apps & games give you virtual legs, but since no current VR systems have built-in leg tracking they don’t match the movement of your real legs. Some people don’t mind this, or even prefer it, but as Bosworth points out it feels disconcerting to many.
But this doesn’t preclude an avatar system showing legs for other people, and that’s what Bosworth says Meta is working on. There are still major challenges in this approach though, such as how to gracefully handle the transition between sitting and standing, and how to make the legs look natural when moving around with the thumbstick. In many apps today avatars look more like they’re shuffling and sliding than really walking.
Last month Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg teased a major fidelity update for the avatars following ridicule of their current graphical simplicity. It’s unclear whether this update will also bring legs, or if these are entirely separate projects. Zuckerberg teased Meta will reveal more details at the annual Connect conference, scheduled for October 11th.