Reality Labs

An update on Avatars: More options, more platforms, and shirts for football fans

Last year we overhauled Avatars in VR to make them more expressive, more customizable, and more diverse — but we knew it was only the start. We’ve been hard at work since then, expanding Avatars so that they better reflect the billions of unique people on this planet. Today we’re taking that further, adding new facial shapes and assistive devices for people with disabilities. We will also be adding limited-time offerings for NFL fans as we begin to bring real-world fandom into the metaverse.

We’re also beginning to roll out our updated 3D Avatars to Facebook, Messenger, and (for the first time) Instagram Stories and DMs. Starting today, people in the United States, Canada, and Mexico can show up as their virtual selves across apps via stickers, feed posts, Facebook profile pictures, and more.

Since revealing our long-term vision of the metaverse at Connect 2021, we’ve continued building out this next evolution of social technology, building toward a future where you can sit in the same room as loved ones who are actually thousands of miles away or work naturally with a talented team that spans the globe. VR and Quest are a key part of that metaverse vision — but only a single piece of the whole. We see the metaverse as an interconnected digital world, one that bridges VR and AR, sure, but also more familiar platforms like your phone and computer. 

Being able to have the same avatar across our platforms is an early step toward making this a reality, and one we’ve been working toward for a long time. We hope your new virtual self enables you to represent yourself online the way you want to be represented — whether that’s to friends and family, your local community, or beyond. Read on for more details!

More options than ever

One quintillion. A one followed by 18 zeros. That’s the number of combinations our new Avatars supported when we released last year, and it’s a big number.

But it’s not enough. Not if our goal is to represent the full scale of human diversity, to enable everyone to create their ideal Avatar and better express themselves on our platforms. Today’s update adds cochlear implants and over-the-ear hearing aids (for one or both ears) in a variety of colors and on all platforms, including VR.  It also includes wheelchairs, which will appear in stickers on Facebook, in Messenger chats, and in DMs on Instagram.

We’re also improving the look of our Avatars. We’ve subtly adjusted certain facial shapes and tweaked our skin shaders to make your Avatar more authentically you. Here’s an example of the same Avatar last April (left) versus now:

This is in addition to the work we did throughout 2021, adding new eyes and noses, beards and hairstyles, outfits, body types, and more. There’s still a lot we want to do in the future, but the number of possible combinations is a lot higher than one quintillion at this point! Check back regularly throughout 2022 as we continue to add new items to the Avatar editor. Speaking of which . . .

For NFL fans

We’re excited to partner with the NFL to bring NFL football fandom to Avatars. With Super Bowl LVI just around the corner on February 13, we wanted to give fans a chance to show off and celebrate their favorite teams. From now until February 28, you’ll be able to outfit your Avatar to support the Cincinnati Bengals or Los Angeles Rams — or if you can’t bring yourself to cheer for either team, there’s also a neutral Super Bowl LVI shirt you can choose instead.

Show off your Super Bowl LVI gear anywhere you use your Avatar, whether on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, or in VR. Wear it proudly while you can!

Entering a new dimension

When we released our updated and more expressive Avatars in VR last April, we promised that the same avatar style would one day be available to bring to our other apps. Today we begin making good on that promise, rolling out 3D Avatars across Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger to people in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, along with countries where we’ve already started rolling out. As we said up top, you’ll be able to show up as your Avatar in your Facebook profile picture, and in comments, stickers, stories, and more. This also marks the first time any of our Avatars have been available on Instagram, so we’re excited to see what you do with them!

If you previously created an Avatar on Facebook in the past, get ready to see a new side of yourself — literally. Your Avatar will automatically enter the third dimension as part of this update, and we’re doing our best to make sure your new and improved self matches the choices you made previously. That said, there are a lot more options now than there were before! You’ll have the chance to jump into the editor and make some changes.  

And if this is your first time using Avatars? That’s extra exciting because you get to explore how you want to represent yourself virtually! Does the virtual you have freckles? Bangs? A mustache? All questions that need answering. Access the Avatar editor through the Facebook menu, Facebook comments, or Messenger to start customizing your look.

We know you may want to represent yourself differently on different platforms, so right now you can create three different Avatars, if you choose — one for Facebook and Messenger, another for Instagram, and a third for VR. And if you’ve set up Accounts Center and chosen to sync your Avatar, any changes you make to your Avatar on Facebook and Messenger will automatically appear on Instagram as well, and vice versa. Over time, our goal is to eventually make it easy and seamless to move your Avatar from place to place if you want, so look for more updates on this front. But feel free to break out the floral shirts for Instagram without worrying that you might show up to a meeting that way in Horizon Workrooms. (Unless you want to.)

Here’s to 2022

We’re gradually rolling out Avatars to Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger users around the world over the next few months — so if you don’t see it today, don’t worry! We’re excited to get 3D Avatars into your hands, and have a lot more to talk about in the coming months. Stay tuned!