Social VR apps are a big part of the industry’s future, but everyone’s got their own ideas as to what they should offer. Avatars are a big part of that discussion, as how we represent ourselves inside VR forms a big part of the connections we can make with others. We’ve seen plenty of interesting experiments in this regard, but EmbodyMe could have something special on its hands.
EmbodyMe offers a fairly standard suite of social activities, including playing games and taking pictures with friends, but its real claim to fame is its avatar creation system. When setting up your character you can upload a picture of yourself, either using a webcam or with any image on your PC, and the game will map your face onto your virtual avatar. It’s pretty easy to do and it also offers a slate of examples including Barrack Obama and Jackie Chan.
The app also detects your voice for a primitive form of lip syncing, and you can recreate facial expressions with your controller. It’s safe to say it’s a little creepy at first, but you can dress up your avatar to fit yourself pretty well. The game’s also got a pretty accurate tracking algorithm that did a good job replicating the location of my arms inside VR without need for other trackers.
Speaking to UploadVR over email, developer Issei Yoshida explained that his team had come up with the app after growing frustrated with traditional social experiences like Skype. He sees EmbodyMe filling the gap between those apps and face-to-face meetings. In fact, the team wants the app to “entirely replaceme” the former in the long-term. In the future, Yoshida sees the app growing business-oriented features to attract new customers. He wants every day actions like working and playing to be available inside the app.
EmbodyMe will be on Steam Early Access on March 25th with support for both the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.