Mark Zuckerberg’s new Metaverse avatar was four weeks in the making
Update, August 22, 2022:
According to Dylan Dunbar, 3D artist at Meta, the new Zuckerberg avatar is not a quick response to criticism of his current Horizon avatar: Dunbar states that he worked with artist Steve Rheinfrank for just under four weeks to create the real-time 3D model from scratch. By the current version, he says, the model had gone through 40 iterations. “Mark liked it enough to post it,” Dunbar writes on Linkedin.
It also likely means that Zuckerberg’s new avatar is not directly from Horizon Worlds, but rather a vision of what it should look like one day.
Original article posted Aug. 20, 2022:
Meta responds to heavy criticism of Mark Zuckerberg’s Horizon Avatar. The proto-metaverse will soon receive “major updates” for avatars and worlds.
Trivial screenshot, remarkable impact: to celebrate the launch of Horizon Worlds in France and other EU countries, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently shared a boring, lifeless screenshot of his avatar against a barren background.
The nondescript likeness caused much mockery and derision on the Internet: Meta is investing billions in the Metaverse – for what exactly?
Meta’s marketing team underestimated the importance of a screenshot when it’s awful
The screenshot probably drew more media attention and comments on social media than Horizon Worlds as a whole. The tenor is almost exclusively negative.
Comparisons are being made to decades-old 3D platforms like Playstation Home or Second Life, which look more detailed than what Meta currently offers in Horizon Worlds.
left: zuckerberg’s big hype metaverse post
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right: playstation home in 2008 pic.twitter.com/7MubbuFjck
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Meta’s marketing department apparently underestimated how much scrutiny its billion-dollar investment in the Metaverse would receive – and how much criticism it would garner: The tech world took a small, casual update from Horizon Worlds and a single screenshot as proof that Meta was promising much more for the Metaverse than it could deliver in the foreseeable future.
Zuckerberg counters – and promises a graphics update
That the criticism has reached Meta headquarters is shown by Zuckerberg’s prompt reaction: In his social media channels, he admits that the Horizon Worlds screenshot he published was “pretty basic”.
His reasoning strikes me as surprising, given the long development time of Horizon Worlds, a hopefully existing internal strategy for the rollout of the app, and the billions invested in recent years: The screenshot “was taken very quickly to celebrate a launch,” Zuckerberg writes.
Horizon can do much more graphically, Zuckerberg continues, “even on headsets,” and is improving fast. The Meta-CEO announces “major updates” for Horizon worlds and avatars, and shares the first taste (see title image and following image).
More news about Horizon Worlds will be revealed at the Meta Connect XR conference in the fall. It seems that the negative reactions to the recently released Horizon screenshot prompted Zuckerberg to reveal a conference surprise in advance.