Leg Up

Remember Facebook-turned-Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg's much-vaunted Metaverse project, where his avatar featured creepy dead eyes, odd-looking hands, and a glaring lack of legs that made everybody ridicule the whole thing? Truly the stuff of nightmares.

Well, the avatars finally have legs now, but now the question is whether anybody still cares.

If you don the company's Quest virtual reality goggles, and have access to Meta's early access program, you will see yourself with legs in Horizon Home, one of Meta's VR platforms, according to UploadVR. But you can only see legs in the third person, such as looking in a mirror, and not when you look down at your feet.

Meta told UploadVR that legs are coming to Horizon Worlds, the company's flagship VR gaming and social media platform. It had first promised legs were coming last year in October, but since then the tech world has mostly dropped the metaverse in favor of AI hype, with Meta itself planning to launch AI chatbots and pumping resources into its ChatGPT competitor, LLaMA.

Anybody Home?

With the advent of avatars with legs, is there anybody around in Metaverse's VR playground to care about the new appendages?

Meta had set a monthly goal of 500,000 users for the first half of 2023, The Wall Street Journal reported back in February, but ended up with under 200,000 instead.

These numbers are bad as Meta struggles to maintain relevance. Facebook still has a gigantic footprint at about 3 billion users, but its user base is old, and young people have mostly moved onto TikTok. Under that dark cloud, Meta slashed more than 11,000 jobs last year and another 10,000 in March of this year. Ouch.

Maybe an immersive metaverse will still happen. Some tech experts think it will. But perhaps Meta's vision for it just doesn't have the metaphorical legs to go the distance.

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