Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, gave the first tease of its Super Bowl commercial plans with a product release Monday that lets fans decorate online avatars with virtual NFL merchandise. The update did not include a look at Meta’s Super Bowl commercial, but it was a clue that the spot would tie into the “metaverse,” a concept that CEO Mark Zuckerberg bet the company on last year in a rebrand.
The NFL promotion was part of a broader set of changes to avatars, which have a new 3D look, more options for skin tones and facial features, and options for users to add wheelchairs and hearing aids. Avatars, which are digital representations people create of themselves, will be able to wear a T-shirt representing one of the Super Bowl teams—the Rams or Bengals—or a generic Super Bowl LVI shirt.
“We see the metaverse as an interconnected digital world, one that bridges VR and AR, sure, but also more familiar platforms like your phone and computer,” Aigerim Shorman, Meta’s general manager for avatars and identity, said in a blog post on Monday. “Being able to have the same avatar across our platforms is an early step towards making this a reality, and one we’ve been working towards for a long time. We hope your new virtual self enables you to represent yourself online the way you want to be represented.”