On December 2, Oculus began rolling out a software update 1.10.1 for Oculus Rift. With it, we finally saw the release of their previously announced Oculus Avatars.
According to a post on the Oculus Forum:
“the update only started going out today (to a small portion of users). It will ramp up to everyone over the next 24 – 48 hours.”
The new Oculus Avatars feature appears above your user pic in the Oculus Home. Clicking on “Edit Avatar” opens up a new dressing room environment and allows you to customize your avatar which appears in a mirror in front of you. The head of the avatar moves when you move and I gotta say… looking in the mirror in VR is totally weird… but very cool.
Customization features include Head, Wardrobe and Pallet which allow you to edit hair, face, facial hair, glasses, wardrobe and color. Most of the looks are more on the comic and retro side and you are only able to wear eyewear, as there are no plain eyes available. Perhaps this was a psychological decision, since the users are already wearing a Rift, or maybe they wanted to avoid the “dead eye” look that most 3D avatars have? Curious to learn more about the “whys” later.
Some of the lucky few who have received their Oculus Touch early, will notice that touch functionality is already implemented. You can also use the clicker, or with Touch, you can reach out and press buttons, touch the morror which makes a ripple effect, or swipe to scroll through different elements.
Beyond that, there is not much additional use for the avatars yet, but we are really excited to see where the new features will be used. We can only speculate that they will be in place for the new social features which Oculus discussed previously that will soon be rolling out along with the official Oculus Touch Launch on Dec 6.
What we can say is that with Oculus Avatars, you should say hello to your new Facebook profile pic! We will keep you posted if any new surprises turn up. It’s going to be an exciting couple of weeks for the VR industry and things are going to get strange.
Sean Earley is the Executive Editor of AR/VR Magazine & co-founder of RobotSpaceship Podcast Network. He is the Director of New Biz Development and Publishing at KEMWEB, a musician, producer & consultant. He loves guitars, VR and coffee.