During Meta’s Connect conference on Tuesday, Mark Zuckerberg made a huge announcement: the avatars in the company’s Horizon VR app will be getting legs soon. To demonstrate this groundbreaking technical achievement, Zuckerberg’s digital avatar lifted each leg in the air, then did a jump, while Aigerim Shorman’s avatar kicked into the air.
It may have all been for show. According to UploadVR editor Ian Hamilton, an unnamed Meta spokesperson said that the “the segment featured animations created from motion capture,” meant to “enable this preview of what’s to come.” To me that reads like what we saw wasn’t actually a demo of what Horizon’s legs will look like, but rather an artist’s interpretation of what Horizon’s legs may end up looking like.
Okay, maybe that’s a bit dramatic. Because, really, this was easy to see coming. My co-worker Jay Peters even warned that the pre-recorded video wasn’t necessarily an accurate representation in his coverage of the announcement. Still, if Meta really is trying to say that its presentation didn’t feature any footage of what legs will actually look like as interpreted by your Quest headset, that’s slightly worrying. This feature is supposed to be coming soon, but we can’t see it yet? How am I supposed to know if I should spend $1,500 on a Quest Pro if I can’t be sure that it’ll let me have my virtual avatar jump up onto the boardroom table and do a dance during a virtual meeting?
I guess we’ll just have to wait until the legs actually launch to see how Meta’s AI-predicted legs stack up against the real deal. For now, I guess we’ll just get a kick out of Zuckerberg’s awkward “demonstration” — even if all it really proved was that computers are, in fact, capable of rendering legs in some capacity.