Meta is working on letting you make and join video calls from inside its Quest VR headsets.
Messenger audio calling is already available on Quest today, but not video calling.
This week Meta released avatar calling on Messenger and Instagram for iPhone and Android smartphones, leveraging the device’s front camera to track your face in real time and translate it to the avatar’s movement.
Before now Meta had two versions of its avatars: one with unrealistic proportions for Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram, and another with semi-realistic proportions for VR. But with the release of avatar calling Meta is getting rid of the non-VR version even the company itself admits had a “comically oversized noggin”.
The announcement didn’t mention anything about Quest headsets though, so we asked Meta’s VP of Metaverse Vishal Shah on Threads whether that was coming too. Shah reponded to say Meta is “working on it”.
This may not be a particularly compelling experience for the person you call on Quest 2 and 3 however, as both headsets lack facial expression tracking. It would be much more suited to Quest Pro, where face and eye tracking are the standout unique features in Meta’s lineup.
Facebook actually already did once in the past let people make video calls as an avatar from VR. The PC VR app Facebook Spaces, released in 2017, let Oculus Rift and eventually HTC Vive users call Messenger contacts from inside it, appearing an earlier version of the company’s avatars. However, in 2019 Facebook shut down Spaces to “make way” for Horizon, despite Horizon not having most of Spaces features even today.