The 3D avatars are a component of "Mesh," an initiative Microsoft announced in late 2021 before the enthusiasm for the "metaverse" had crashed. Mesh was supposed not to just include 3D Teams avatars, but virtual workspaces accessible via VR, so that people working remotely can experience the joy of sitting in a meeting room while someone talks endlessly about "kicking the ball running," "cheese being moved" and "continuous sustainability goals."
The avatars with customisable body types, skin tones, hair colors and hairstyles, clothes, and facial features. Microsoft said in late 2021 that the initial versions of these avatars would only animate when users were speaking, but eventually, the company wants them can mimic users' real-world facial expressions and movements as captured by their webcams.
Mesh for Teams was initially supposed to roll out in 2022, but layoffs at Microsoft, a general cooling of interest in all things Metaverse, and workers gradually returning to offices could all have set those plans back. Vole is more interested in AI features and this could have delayed Mesh.