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.

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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.

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  • tomchall
  • Mrfox Babbit

    This entire disturbing concept will be rife with pedophiles and other various greasy basement dwelling creepers abusing the space at any and every opportunity.

    • sfmike

      Especially once it goes cross platform and VR users will be outnumbered by pancake mobs of kids and crazies.

      • It wont make it to Steam VR at least…Or Bigscreenbeta.

    • tomchall

      so basically what vrchat is now lol

    • guest

      So, then should they put a chastity belt under her skirt in case someone rotates her 90 degrees backward???

  • xyzs

    shivers…

  • Erilis

    Is this definite? It feels like a half-thought. It looks like a rough placeholder draft of where it needs to be

  • NL_VR

    I keep my original Oculus avatar as long as i can.

  • Are people forced to use these abominations outside of social apps?

  • what the frick are up with those eyelids when they blink, eeeee

  • roger belveal

    Choke. Gag, revulse. Conformity of appearance style is not the essence of interoperability for user experience. There is a creepiness in this goe beyond quick explaining. It amounts to a collusion of abusers in the collective grooming of their target victims.

    These big techs getting together to decide among themselves what you the audience ought ot look like and then inform you after the fact, this as how you are to see yourself?

    This is subtle in a heinous way and sinister in a subtle way that flies beneath the radar but shouldn’t.

  • Cless

    Damn, I would prefer even Nintendo Miis before those…

    • VR5

      Just like Miis can be extended to be used in a game like Breath of the Wild, the Meta avatars are also supposedly planned to scale to different levels of fidelity. The current cartoon look does arise from necessity to run on mobile VR hardware, but it is also popular in flat AR apps like Snapchat or Apple’s Animoji.

      • Cless

        Sorry, I’m a bit confused about you saying that Miis can be extended to be used in Zelda… Unless you are just being sarcastic…?
        And I get that, I really do. I’m a 3D character artist specialized in stylized characters after all… but man… they are not aesthetically pleasing at all…

        • Ray

          The minor NPCs in Breath of the Wild are all made distinct using an customized version of the Mii format

        • VR5

          All the NPCs in Zelda: BotW are extended Miis. They were made by Nintendo using their Mii technology. But they look like stylized realistic characters in Zelda, whereas the original Miis are cartoony. Basically, you can use the data from Miis to differentiate more realistic avatars as well.

  • (In Gir voice) Why are they so ugly? Please tell me, why are they so ugly?

  • Why Zuck’s avatar is so cringy?

    • Sven Viking

      Too realistic.

  • ZarathustraDK

    What in the straight-to-dvd-cereal-mascot-jehovas-witness-recruiting f*** where they thinking?

  • VR5

    This avatar system is the real reason why FB rebranded to be a metaverse company. You can already use your FB account to login on completely unrelated sites, for example even here on Disqus you can post with your FB account. They want their avatars in as many VR apps as possible in a similar way as their FB login is on many websites.

    But that avatar system is also a chance to gradually bring Meta’s user bases on FB and Instagram to VR and the Quest. Being able to use the same avatars across FB, IG and Quest will be the next step.

  • Bertie

    They look amazingly bad. Mobile free to play cartoons have more personality.

    • Sven Viking

      I’ve seen footage of Horizons before and, while low on personality, I didn’t think they looked as bad as they do here? Is this incarnation even more recent?

      • Blaexe

        People are mixing up the Instagram / Messenger / Facebook and Quest avatars. Look at the most recent UploadVR Download. The Quest avatars look decent and imo significantly better than before.

        Will be interesting to see how good they’ll look with Cambria.

        • Sven Viking

          Ah, an understandable mistake when “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.’” Glad to hear they’re actually different.

  • Michael Lupton

    Their hilariously bad avatar system…

  • Sayeh

    These avatars look like crap compared to the ones they replaced. Straight-up uncanny valley. Seems like Facebook was keen on getting Zuccerbot’s character model right and fudged everybody else’s. They could’ve actually based Meta’s system off of Facebook’s avatars which were in fact 3D-rendered, but they didn’t b/c high quality avatars would’ve prevented them from getting your racist grandma on the Metaverse using the PC you built her from 2015.

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  • Joan K. Mullins

    The new avatars are UGLY and no one wants to use them !!!!!

  • johann jensson

    Are those for a horror game for children? Swollen heads look like they gonna explode…