No doubt by this point you have heard of Facebook turning into Meta and announcing a complete Metaverse. While having a lot of aspects to it, a thing that stood out to a lot of people is Metaverse Avatars. Designed to be a kind of representation with customization, Metaverse Avatars are something interesting to wait for. But what exactly is an Avatar in the Metaverse and what can you do with it? Find out answers to all that and more with this handy guide I’ve created for you. Let’s check out what is a Metaverse Avatar.
What Is an Avatar in the Metaverse?
While I will tell you what is an Avatar in the Metaverse, I do plan on discussing other surrounding topics. However, if you would rather just skip to it, use the table below.
What Is an Avatar?
If you’ve been on the Internet for some time, you must already be signed up for multiple social media accounts. Depending on the platform, users either upload their photos for their profile or create a 2D or 3D model of themselves for it. That is where our conversation begins. Put simply, an Avatar is an online representation of a user. This digital identity differs from person to person and can either be static or animated.
Want more specifics? Consider Bitmoji. Starting out as 2D emojis for users to use while talking to each other, these avatars have now turned 3D, and are used as your representations in a bunch of Snapchat games. Avatars continue to be the way many social media users use to replicate themselves online.. You can be almost anyone you want to be using an Avatar. You can shape it according to how you exactly are, customize its hairstyle, apparel, accessories, and much more. Chances are, you already have an Avatar or two and use them day today. However, an Avatar is much more than that too. Keep reading to find that out.
What Is an Avatar in the Metaverse?
When Metaverse was announced, one of the highlights of it was the new and improved Metaverse Avatars. An Avatar in the Metaverse essentially is based on the same principle as other online avatars. An avatar in the Metaverse will be a user’s identity on that entire universe. Much like 2D avatars on other platforms, you will be able to create and use an avatar in the Metaverse to your heart’s extent.
However, a big difference here will be flexibility. While some avatars are restricted to only a single platform, a Metaverse avatar will be able to cross through different experiences in the entire Metaverse. So whatever avatar you create along with their appearance will easily carry over to different virtual worlds you will visit. The avatar then becomes your identity in the Metaverse.
Another big difference is the Metaverse Avatar’s flexibility. In order to incorporate such a wide area of usage, Meta is designing its avatars to be extremely realistic. So rather than just simple facial nods to capture movement, a Metaverse avatar will replicate the entire person and their body movements in order to give create a vivid feeling of the actual person being there.
Meta is achieving that through artificial intelligence. The company studies physical movements and then trains a model using those studies. This results in the model accurately predicting shoulder and elbow positions based on where your headset and controllers are. Therefore, Metaverse avatars will result in being even more accurate and intuitive.
What Will I Be Able to Do with This Avatar?
As we discussed, a big advantage of a Metaverse Avatar is its usage. While there are not a lot of specifics out there as of now, we can safely say you will be able to use your Metaverse avatars across various kinds of apps and experiences. Whenever you enter another virtual environment, your avatar will enter it along with you and as you. This will apply to all manner of supported apps and environments and we assume will become an ever-expanding network of flexibility. A central avatar is not only more appealing but this unification of process makes things even more convenient.
For instance – Meta has already announced that the Metaverse avatar will come to not only its own virtual experiences but third party apps by providing devs with them. So if you’re a Meta Quest user, you can use your central avatar in different games such as PokerStars VR, Topgolf with Pro Putt, and Epic Roller Coasters. Moreover, support for games is already on the way with Synth Riders and ForeVR Bowling also getting avatar inclusion soon.
If you’re someone who doesn’t use Virtual Reality, you might be wondering. How can these Metaverse avatars be useful to me? A good answer to that is Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s recently announcement stating that Meta avatars will now be expanding to Facebook, Messenger and Instagram.
So if you’re someone who loves to be expressive on social media, you will be able to use these avatars in feed posts, stories and even use them as your FB profile picture. Avatars also help expand inclusion into other areas. Newly releasing avatars will also include the option to add Cochlear implants and other hearing aids. Furthermore, wheelchair avatars will also appear through the Meta ecosystem’s social media.
Is an Avatar Important to the Metaverse
It most definitely is. An avatar in the Metaverse is more than just a user’s created face. It most essentially becomes that user’s entire manifestation in the Metaverse. Therefore, whatever actions the avatar undertakes are directly driven by the user themselves. So apart from just playing a few games, all types of other activities including important financial ones will also be reflected onto the avatar and therefore the user. The Metaverse relies on this specific principle of User equals Avatar and hence cannot exist without it.
Types of Metaverse Avatars
While the type of avatars out there is plentiful in their creation and variety, the Metaverse will most likely focus on the following below:
1. VR Avatar
Also primarily the one currently used by most virtual reality users, the VR avatar is one where the user sees the virtual environment from the avatar’s point of view. Other VR users will see the avatar as a limited representation of this user. While the users will be able to see the VR avatar’s full upper body, the lower body will be absent because of limited tracking capabilities. This also means that your VR avatar will mimic your hand movements but will miss out on your lower limbs.
2. Full Body Avatar
Full-body avatars are more advanced. Using full-body sensor recognition, this avatar replicates only a user’s hand movements but their body movements as well. So instead of just using your controllers as hands, your legs will also be recognized by your headset and be able to be used. While only available in just a few VR games, full-body avatars are expected to grow and release to more experiences in the future. This is also why it stands to reason that Meta will come out with its own version of it too. However, full-body avatars also require hardware that is capable of full-body tracking. So if you’re a Quest 2 user you will require additional full-body trackers to get it to work.
How Can I Make My Own Metaverse Avatar?
While the Metaverse is still in its early stages, there are already companies out there offering the services of Avatar creators. Going with them, a user can create a fully personalized avatar that can be used to not only visit apps and games but also do even more intuitive things. We have an in-depth guide on this already on the way so stay tuned to learn how to create your own Metaverse avatar.
Are Other Companies Creating Avatars?
While a Metaverse avatar is surely exciting, Meta isn’t the only company on this path. Another tech giant to enter this race is Microsoft. Announcing Microsoft Mesh in late 2021, the company unveiled its own set of personalized 3D avatars and virtual spaces. Working on the same principle of realistic inclusion, users will be able to communicate using their avatars inside Microsoft Teams.
Moreover, the company has announced its set of facial movement tracking that will breathe life into these avatars along with full-fledged virtual environments. Like Meta, Microsoft’s focus is geared towards a mix of productivity in mixed reality coupled with using these avatars in the entertainment space. However, only time will tell how well these avatars come out to be.
Create Your Identity with Metaverse Avatars
Metaverse Avatars will no doubt gain even more personalization features as time goes on and I hope now you know what they are. If you’re a new user and want a taste of avatars, then check out how to create your Reddit avatar here. Got more questions about it? Drop them in the comments below and we’ll help you out.
Last time I checked on oculus, the avatar options were bland / boring / uninteresting, falling along way short of what we were expecting after “ready player one” Major *yawn* maybe things will improve.
One of the clear articles that I read in these days. Even useful for dummies.