“I’ve got freckles in real life, too, so just trying my best with the avatar,” he replies. By implying that the coolest thing about their metaverse is the ability to directly replicate your physical self in the virtual world—creating a parallel universe, instead of an alternate one—Facebook is missing a major draw of online embodiment, for most people: the ability to be weird as hell online.A fan edit of the CBS interview, where Zuckerberg says “check this out” and two huge breasts spring from his avatar’s chest, is extremely funny but also shows how people often choose to inhabit virtual worlds. Not boobs per se (well, a little boobs), but the freedom to express themselves however they want.
But even if realism isn’t a requirement, the company is pushing the idea that matching your physical and virtual appearances is part of the supposed appeal. A big part of this effort is Codec Avatars, a project that’s part of Facebook’s VR/AR research department Reality Labs. The avatars coming out of Codec are all about realism, down to seeing the pores on a person’s face. Yaser Sheikh, the Director of Research at Facebook Reality Labs in Pittsburgh, said in a company blog post that his team gauges success based on an “ego test,” or a “mother test:” the idea that “you have to love your avatar and your mother has to love your avatar before the two of you feel comfortable interacting like you would in real life.”
“The whole beauty of the metaverse is the chance to step outside of our human bodies and real world identities we choose or, depending on circumstances, are forced to live in.”