Meta released its new Quest avatar system last year, bringing a big upgrade over the previous in terms of expressiveness and customizability. Now the company announced it’s standardizing those across all Meta platforms—Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram—essentially letting users build and use the same 3D avatar for VR and social media.
Starting today, Meta says the visual style for 3D avatars on Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram will be “the same look and feel as the avatars you’re already familiar with on Quest.”
The company says its avatars don’t sync across its various properties yet, with the only exception being between Facebook and Messenger, and also Instagram Stories if you choose. For example: if you build an avatar for Quest, it won’t be ported over to your Facebook account. You have to manually build the 3D avatar there, and vice versa.
The update includes things like more expressions, faces, skin tones, over-the-ear hearing aids, cochlear implants, and NFL football shirts in preparation for the Super Bowl.
One thing that won’t be available to Quest users for now though is the inclusion of wheelchairs, which are coming to 3D avatars on its traditional social networks.
The 3D avatar update is gradually rolling out starting today, the company says. Users in the US, Canada and Mexico will be able to access it today, while other countries will follow.
The quasi-unification of its avatar systems across Quest and Facebook is ostensibly part a wider push to position its immersive tech closer to the core of its business. It’s also hoping to build more bridges to these platforms, or so we’ve gleaned.
In a Digiday interview earlier this month, Meta said it would be opening its social VR Horizon apps to non-VR devices at some point in addition to bringing its various experiences together in a more seamless way.
We haven’t seen that happen yet, however the entrance of uniform 3D avatars puts the company even closer to making that cross-platform space—the company’s vision of the metaverse—a significant step closer.