Zuckerberg’s Metaverse Avatar Finds Its Legs (and Headset) at Last

Zuckerberg’s Metaverse Avatar Finds Its Legs

For $1,500, you can enter a metaverse in which the avatars will soon have actual legs, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Tuesday (Oct. 11).

The price tag is for the new Meta Quest Pro virtual reality (VR) headset, which has better resolution and graphics and a more powerful onboard computer than previous models (which, granted, were less than one-third the cost). It is brighter, sharper, more vivid, and has better peripheral vision imagery, according to a Meta announcement.

Meta’s Horizon Worlds metaverse has gotten a lot of flak lately for its basic graphics after the company spent $10 billion on its metaverse aspirations.

Read more: In Horizon Worlds, Emperor Has No Legs

The new headset also lets users interact with the real world as an augmented reality (AR) or mixed reality (MR) device, now with external cameras that can let you see the world around you in color.

More broadly, Zuckerberg said in a Tuesday interview with The Verge, “a lot of folks are really excited” about the potential, as it sets up “a trough of disillusionment at some point because it is a vision that’s far out … But it’s not like this stuff is going to be fully mature in a year or even two or three years. It’s going to take a long time to build out the next computing platform.”

Walk the Walk

The full-body avatars have “more natural facial expressions,” the Meta announcement sated.

They also have, again, legs, which Zuckerberg told The Verge in a separate report was the most requested feature. And, it has to be said, the one mocked almost as hard as the poor graphics in his now-infamous Aug. 16 selfie that set off the wave of criticism and doubt.

“But seriously, legs are hard,” he said, per the report.

The Meta Quest Pro now “integrates inward-facing sensors to capture natural facial expressions and eye tracking,” the company said in a separate press release. “Raise an eyebrow, smile or simply make eye contact with someone, and your avatar will do the same. All of this helps improve social presence — the feeling that you’re right there together with someone no matter where in the world you are.

“Whether you’re working in a virtual office in Meta Horizon Workrooms or hanging out with friends and family you can’t otherwise see in person, it’s important to have avatars that not only look like you but can move and express themselves like you would in real life,” Meta said in the first announcement. “With eye tracking and Natural Facial Expressions, Meta Quest Pro brings us a step closer to showing your authentic self in the metaverse.”

Work for It

Meta is still focused heavily on VR workspaces aimed at collaboration in the metaverse.

Its new headset was “was designed with productivity in mind and will be a major upgrade for those who use VR as a tool for work,” the company said in the second press release.

See also: Zuckerberg’s Unlovable Metaverse Shares Flaws of Meta’s Payments Policy

The Meta Quest Pro headset does this with mixed reality that “lets you combine your physical environment with virtual elements in a realistic way, leading to enhanced social presence, productivity, and collaboration,” Meta said in the first announcement. “Instead of being confined to the dimensions of your desk, you can set up a big virtual workspace with multiple screens spread all around you while still using your physical keyboard and mouse.”

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