Facebook is rolling out its latest avatars, Oculus Avatars 2.0, which it hopes will finally unify virtual identify across Oculus applications and Facebook products. In addition to becoming the default avatars for Facebook Horizon and being optionally integrated into Oculus games, Facebook also teased that the new avatars will eventually find their way to the Facebook app, Messenger, Instagram, and more.

Facebook has begun rolling out its latest avatars which bring a major update to both visuals and motion over the previous avatars.

Given that a VR headset and controllers only tell the computer the location of your head and hands, it’s quite difficult to accurately predict where the rest of your body (like your elbows and shoulders) should be shown in the virtual world. Facebook says it has leaned on new methods based on machine-learning to create more believable and expressive avatar movements based solely on the movement of your head and hands.

Facebook says Avatars 2.0 offers far more customization than the previous system, now allowing users to individually customize skin tone, hair style, face shape/markings/lines, eye shape, eyebrows, eye makeup, and more. Combined with other options like clothing, glasses, and body types, the company says there’s more than one quintillion possible combinations of avatars.

While anyone running the latest version of the Oculus Quest software should be able to customize an avatar with the new system, it’ll be some time yet before they can be widely integrated into Oculus applications; Facebook is only offering the new system to select developers for the time being, with open access to the Avatars 2.0 SDK planned for “later this year.”

A New Category of VR Game is Slowly Emerging Right Before Our Eyes

Three applications now support the Oculus Avatars 2.0 right out of the gate: Epic Roller Coasters, PokerStars VR, and Topgolf with Pro Putt. Facebook says that the new avatars will also soon show up in Synth Riders and ForeVR Bowling.

As for Facebook’s own VR products, the company says that later this year Oculus Avatars 2.0 will replace the avatars in Facebook Horizon, the company’s social VR app which remains in closed beta. Outside of VR, the company has also teased that Avatars 2.0 will come—in some form—to the Facebook app, Messenger, Instagram, and other, unspecified, Facebook products.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Duane Aakre

    I followed the link from Top Golf and played around with it for awhile, but never got to the point where the avatar felt like ‘me’.

    Hopefully, Avatar 3.0 will finally allow us to upload a couple of photos and it can build the avatar from them.

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  • xyzs

    They should have a look at MetaHuman.
    That more what I would like for an avatar system..

    • jiink

      They have a lot of work done on their neat Codec Avatars if they wanted to go the realistic route

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Personally I think those are way to realistic. I don’t like realistic avatars for these type of ‘social’ experiences.

  • Ad

    Will this make it more clear to people that the quest isn’t a VR headset with a Facebook requirement, it’s a Facebook product through and through? Once you’re in games using the same avatar that your aunt it using for her Q memes, I feel like it’s hard to obfuscate.

    And they gave up on the horizon ones so fast.

    • NL_VR

      Whats the difference? Its a VR headset from Facebook of course its a “Facebook product’

      • Ad

        People think it just has a facebook requirement, not that using the headset is using facebook.

        • NL_VR

          “using” facebook

    • Blaexe

      > And they gave up on the horizon ones so fast.

      I mean – these are basically refined Horizon avatars, and much better imo.

      • Elizabeth Thomas

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  • Arturs Gerskovics

    These avatars are pure abomination

  • jiink

    For Rift too or nah?

  • sfmike

    I applaud the continued refinement of the FB avatars and the addition of choices for facial hair and other refinements but I’m disappointed with the weird unisexual body types that are represented that seem more of a promotion of transgenderism type thinking than reality. To my eye none of the body types that can be configured are of a true masculine form. I would prefer that we go back to starting our avatar creation with choosing a male or female body type and working from there. This avatar creator seems to have us all start as women and then we just get into male drag. These avatars need a boost of testosterone. For instance we never get broad shoulders but just an oversized shirt of jacket. Maybe there are just to many female designers working on this product and a couple male artists should be allowed to take a look at the process.

    • implicator

      I feel the same way. It is jarring to see Pokerstars go from the old Oculus avatars who have good facial definition to these extremely androgynous avatars where it is easy to confuse a man for a woman. Given the drop in graphical fidelity I think that these new avatars are outright downgrades. Even the hand models lack fingernails now.

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