Lying Legs

As Facebook Meta continues its push to convince you that VR is really really really the wave of the future, they made an announcement last week that legs were coming to their Horizon Worlds experience. There was a whole demo around this feature.

Avatars have only been floating torsos up to this point. It isn't a stretch to think that adding the rest of a body would be desirable. Meta's live tweets even had a tweet that only said "Legs". I'm not even kidding. There's only one problem: the demo was completely fabricated. Ian Hamilton at Upload VR has more.

A key segment of the Connect keynote this week announcing that Meta’s avatars would eventually feature legs was produced with “animations created from motion capture,” the company said.

The smoothness of the movements shown in the video clashed with the expectations of what’s capable on VR hardware, leaving some to suspect it was motion-captured or carefully smoothed by artists while others strained to understand why Meta would show something in its Connect event if there’s a chance it might not live up to that fidelity in practice with shipping VR hardware.

Upload VR

While it was standard practice for a long time to have prerecorded demos and some sleight-of-hand during keynote presentations, it is yet another goof from a company that is trying too hard. Even their VP of Metaverse (what an awful title) Vishal Shah knows people have little-to-no interest in this stuff.

In a follow-up memo dated September 30th, Shah said that employees still weren’t using Horizon enough, writing that a plan was being made to “hold managers accountable” for having their teams use Horizon at least once a week. “Everyone in this organization should make it their mission to fall in love with Horizon Worlds. You can’t do that without using it. Get in there. Organize times to do it with your colleagues or friends, in both internal builds but also the public build so you can interact with our community.”

The Verge

I'm sure that is a great way to motivate people to use this thing. Make it a "mission" to "fall in love" with a piece of tech. Personally, I've never had to try to love a gadget because if it's really cool or groundbreaking, it does that itself. But, no, Shah is declaring a mandate to love this stuff. Basically "the beatings will continue until morale improves."

Lost in all this noise is a partnership with Microsoft to integrate their (awful) Teams app and other work-related items into the Quest system. Of course, this is another push in attempts to convince others that you can work all day in VR.

It all comes down to, yet again, Meta wanting to own the "full stack". If they don't control the hardware on the Next Big Thing, then they will have another 1-2 decades of being at the mercy of other companies. As someone who owns a PSVR and enjoys it, I can say that VR is fun but not nearly as a big deal as Meta is trying to make it out to be.

They can't even get legs right.