Meta’s Connect conference held earlier this week had announcements ranging from the new $1,500 Quest Pro headset to the company’s partnership with Microsoft to bring productivity tools to VR. However, probably one of the most discussed updates was that Meta is finally bringing legs to its virtual avatars.
Until now, Horizon Worlds users — which is Meta’s virtual world experience — had legless torsos in the name of avatars. Many found it odd that their bodies are just floating in the digital space without any legs. (Check out the video below to see what these avatars look like.)
The Connect conference demo presented by Mark Zuckerberg had his and another Meta exec Aigerim Shorman’s avatars jumping and kicking around. However, Meta’s demo of legs had a catch: it used motion capture technology rather than VR-based tracking to make that happen.
Meta told UploadVR’s Ian Hamilton that it had used animation for the demo. “To enable this preview of what’s to come, the segment featured animations created from motion capture,” the company told the publication.
Capturing leg movements from a VR device that’s worn on your head is tough. Even Microsoft has struggled with incorporating legs in its early version of its virtual world experiences. While some VR experiences show virtual legs, they can’t really track the real-time movements of your own legs — and users have a mixed reaction to that.
We might have to wait for the next year to get Meta’s leg-equipped avatars in the Horizon World. Plus, as UploadVR noted, the company is showing the inferred position of other people’s legs, but you might not be able to see your own avatar’s legs.
So virtual-world legs might not be as good as real-life legs for a while. As Mark Zuckerberg said during the presentation, “Seriously, legs are hard!”