Meta is working on an option to turn off the first-person avatar. About a year after this controversial feature was released.
When you put on the Quest headset last December, you were in for a surprise: You suddenly found yourself in the body of your own cartoon avatar, with a cartoon torso and cartoon arms. A modern version of Kafka’s Metamorphosis, only with Gregor Samsa waking up in the body of a Simpsons character. The online reaction was unanimous: “Where the hell can I turn this off?”
The feature was introduced in late November 2022 with the v47 system update. No one had asked for it, but Meta thought the change was a good idea.
Unpleasant side effects
The first-person avatar can be irritating because Quest only estimates the position of the torso and arms and doesn’t track them. If this estimate and the actual position are very different, it can be an uncomfortable experience. And at least for me, there are bugs here and there. If the tracking fails, I suddenly have arms like Slenderman or see my headless torso floating in front of me. A horror show.
At least on Quest 3, the position of the torso and arms will be become more accurate in the future, as the headset will get integrated upper body tracking soon. However, this does not eliminate the problem of identifying with your cartoon avatar.
Before the update, your avatar was invisible, and your hands appeared as ghostly outlines when hand tracking was turned on. Now, Meta wants to at least allow users to return to this view and turn off the first-person avatar.
An option to turn off the first-person avatar is in the works
The PTC version of the v59 update includes a corresponding option, as Twitter user Luna proves with a screenshot. “Your avatar’s hands and arms will be shown instead of transparent hands while using your headset. This will not affect how your avatar appears to in your Mirror, or to others,” the description reads.
Looks like the recently datamined option to disable your first person avatar hands/body is rolling out in Meta Quest v59 PTC.
Setting > Accessibility > Mobility > Show avatar hands pic.twitter.com/Nb7PkwerNf
– Luna (@Lunayian) October 22, 2023
Since the v59 update has been rolling out for a week now and Meta doesn’t mention the option in the release notes, it’s safe to assume it’s been pushed to a later update. Maybe it will come out in November. That would be about a year since this feature was introduced, which shows how long it took Meta to react.
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