At the all-digital version of SXSW 2021 today, Facebook’s Mark Rabkin, VP of Oculus, showed off an upcoming new version of its avatar system on Quest.
In his chat with CNET’s Scott Stein, called The Quest Effect: Inside VR’s Next Chapter, Rabkin revealed the company’s next avatar system.
It’s slated to arrive first on its social VR platform Facebook Horizon, and later roll out to the wider Quest ecosystem for other developers to integrate. Take a look below:
Horizon has been in invite-only beta for around a year now, and it appears the company is getting closer to releasing to a wider audience.
Considering Rabkin says this will be rolling out to Horizon and then the rest of the platform, it’s safe to say the results above were obtained by applying many of the advances in AI systems the company has been working on in the past few years, and not by using a separate piece of face-tracking hardware like HTC revealed earlier this month.
Since the launch of Rift in 2016, Facebook has been keen on researching social VR and releasing smaller experiments — that’s of course relatively speaking in comparison to the massive success of third-party social platforms like Rec Room, Bigscreen, and VRChat. Whether Horizon is set to be another such sandbox experiment isn’t clear, however Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is keen on cinching down on “social presence”—the feeling of being physically near someone even at a distance—as the company moves towards its third and fourth iterations of Quest.