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Why a manifesto?

If you have spent any amount of time in social XR, you will understand the transfixing power of digital presence. Even with today’s limited fidelity, avatars can feel real. Social interactions with people in XR can feel magical, intimate, and sometimes unnerving. There have been a few reported cases of abuse in virtual worlds dating back to the 90s. Many of them stem from platforms not being prepared to handle the ways bad actors use the technology. Sometimes it’s because platforms did not provide the proper systems to protect the user. I believe that it is important for us to come together to create mechanisms to safeguard users by safeguarding their digital selves.

The three principles

We will aspire to create opportunities for representation and inclusion.

We will bias for making things available to all users.

We will focus on translation instead of simulation.

A user should always feel in control.

We want the user to always know what’s happening.

Even if it means the flow has friction points.

The evolution of embodiment

Illustration by Jean-Marc Côté (1899) a French image series depicting scientific advances imagined as achieved by the year 2000
Photo by Eadward Muybridge |  The Horse in Motion (1878) considered in history to be the first ever motion picture to be made.
Photo Free to use under the Unsplash License
Avatars from Bitmoji and Roblox
Avatars from Roblox

What is an  avatar?

Avatar (Sanskrit: अवतार, avatāra; pronounced [ɐʋɐtaːrɐ]) is a concept within Hinduism that in Sanskrit literally means “descent”. It signifies the material appearance or incarnation of a powerful deity, goddess or spirit on Earth.

An Avatar is an embodied manifestation of the self in digital form.

What is NOT an  avatar?

It is important to understand that traditional game characters are not Avatars. They may satisfy the embodiment part of the definition but they are disqualified from being avatars as they are manifestations of predefined characters with a specific goal assigned by the game creator.

Playable Characters

Non-Playable Characters

By the numbers

Metaverse Fashion Trends 2022Roblox x Parsons

Half of Gen Z Users say they change their avatar’s clothing at least every week.

Dressing their avatars allows them to express their individuality (47%) and feel good about themselves (43%).

2 in 5 respondents said expressing themselves with clothing and accessories in the digital world is MORE important than expressing themselves in the physical world.

Respondents noted the importance of having a full range of skin tones (said 70%) and a full range of body shapes (64%), along with a full range of hair colors, textures and styles (70%).