I found out why metaverse avatars don’t have legs

It’s hard to escape the hype of the metaverse even if you can’t experience much of it. Last year, both Microsoft and Meta (rebranded from Facebook), demoed their virtual worlds of the future.

In the videos depicting these dreamlike spaces — where you could work with your colleagues or hang out and play games — I had a burning question about the avatars representing users: WHERE ARE THEIR LEGS? Hit the play button in Satya Nadella’s tweet below to watch a clip of Microsoft’s metaverse demo:

The avatars in both these virtual worlds from a couple of tech giants are just floating torsos, and that’s a rather odd bug/feature for them to have in common.  So I decided to ask experts if there was any technical reason behind it.

After all, the characters in most games with a third-person view have legs. Is it especially hard to do that with virtual versions of ourselves?

A lot of that has to do with sensors. Currently, metaverse experiences are largely restricted to VR headsets; some are compatible with handheld controllers, like the Oculus touch controllers. However, there are hardly any commercially available sensors and controllers for our legs. That means your leg movement can’t be accurately detected and depicted in virtual environments.