Possible Reality Pushes Digital Likeness Beyond ‘Facebook Avatars’ and Snapchat’s Bitmoji
Even Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has commented that visual communication will soon replace text, so why does the market need another Bitmoji clone?
With the recent news that Facebook is preparing to release its own avatar stickers function, many are wondering why the Menlo Park, CA tech giant is on the verge of copying Snapchat’s successful Bitmoji app, especially in the wake of its annual F8 conference, where CTO Mike Schroepfer unveiled future plans that include realistic facial mimicking in VR application “Spaces.”
Cleverly named “Facebook Avatars,” the feature, which was discovered by developer Jane Manchun Wong, is essentially a clone of Bitmoji, the popular avatar creation app that was acquired by Snapchat in 2016. Much like Bitmoji, “Facebook Avatars” will allow users to create cartoon personal digital assets, and while some are wondering why it took so long for Facebook to join in on the avatar craze, many are curious why they would even go the cartoon route, when the market’s appetite is craving a healthy dose of digital likeness.
The answer simply comes down to time and money.
“You see so many developers going the cartoon route because it’s a safer bet,” offers Possible Reality CCO Michael Tigar, who is in the midst of completing a proprietary facial recognition software that creates 3-D digital avatars from 2-D photos. “It’s a thin line because you’re throwing large sums of money at this digital likeness, a representation of ourselves, and playing with the uncanny valley.”
Already explaining that Possible Reality’s INTARACT app will cross the uncanny valley, allowing users to achieve true digital likeness with their avatars, Tigar, and CEO Ryan Isbell, imagine integrated avatar features beyond stickers and emoji applications. Envisioning e-commerce and gaming functionality, Isbell sees lifelike avatars as the future of interactive gaming, RPGs, and first person shooter games. And it’s this digital likeness that creates the confluence of between AR, VR, and avatars.
But there’s another reason, Isbell believes, that Facebook is chasing Snap and Bitmoji: Time.
“Facebook is still years away from integrating its facial mimicking software and allowing users to create lifelike avatars,” comments Isbell. “They have pressure, almost an expectation from the market, to release these cartoon avatars because they need to have a product, any product, in place to compete with Snapchat.”
Rather than rush INTARACT out the door, Possible Reality is fine tuning its flagship application, nearing completion for an alpha launch in late 2018. Fortunately, the LA-based tech boutique is singularly focused on providing lifelike avatar solutions that will ultimately make an immediate impact on emerging AR tech and gaming.
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