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Emojigate: People are mad that Windows 11 won't have 3D emojis after all

Emoji Faces
Emoji Faces (Image credit: Microsoft)

EMOJIGATE! This is how I've decided to brand this latest Microsoft scandal, which pertains to the much-advertised emojis heading to Windows 11, Microsoft's shiny new operating system.

Windows 11 is by and large a cosmetic update, attempting to modernize the aging design language while bringing further consistency to the feel of the user experience. Apps like Photos, Paint, and Settings picked up refreshed designs, while things like the Snipping Tool were replaced altogether. For more details on what's new in Windows 11, head here.

There is, however, one expected feature that isn't making its way across. At least, not in the way people were expecting.

Microsoft's much-advertised 3D emojis do away with the Windows 10 icons and with their thick outlines and simplistic color schemes. The newer 3D emojis were designed to more closely line up with the Fluent Design system Microsoft is following as it builds out its products, complete with "fun" options like our old pal Clippy, as the paperclip emoji.

Emoji Panel New Emoji Hero

Source: Microsoft The new emojis, as seen in yesterday's Windows 11 preview build. (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

In campaigns across social media, Microsoft showcased the new 3D emojis heavily. However, as we found out from yesterday's Windows 11 preview build, the final result is missing an entire dimension. They're FLAT! The horror, the horror. And shock, some Windows 11 users are unhappy with the news.

One user on Twitter wrote, "as a Windows user for over 17 years, I've never felt so disappointed." Another lamented, "You promised us 3D emojis and this is what we get? WHY?!? Stop working with 3D artists if nothing will look as in the videos. I was hyped, but now I'm simply disappointed," followed by the disappointed emoji. Another raged, "I DO WANT THE 3D EMOJIS!!!!!!!!!! Wtf u did?" Others accosted Windows Insider staff on Twitter, accusing them of a "scam" over the squashed emojis. Thus, I coin the term emojigate, to describe this most scandalous affair.

Clearly, emojis are almost as serious as rounded borders in 2021. It also supports a general theme of Microsoft overpromising, and ultimately not delivering. Still, I do wonder just how much you all actually care about this topic. Is it really a big deal? Vote in our poll, and let us know if you've been gripped by emojigate.

Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

48 Comments
  • It's the same with all the design refreshes MS made. Nothing aligns with their marketing videos. Their marketing team needs to downplay to reality.
  • Thing is, they've clearly made 3D emojis already. Perhaps they haven't finished the entire set yet? So why not release nothing new for now? Why did they even bother completing the entire set in 2D first?
  • Also since this is just on Insider, what's the rush? They have almost a year for this. Windows 11 is already been released anyways. They forgot the people expectations are based from the marketing images they've release months ago.
  • I honestly didn't know that people cared about emojis. Maybe I'm just old. Either way, love your content Jez!
  • Haha thanks brother!
  • Back in my day... we didn't rely on companies making emoji for us, we made our own. :)
  • Yeah on MSN!
  • Well the flat icons don't look bad too, they also look more visible and maintain the general look
    Though that simple thing represents normal Microsoft overpromising stuff they will never deliver... Also i'm a bit disappointed as 3D emojis look better to me
  • They do, I agree!
  • Yeah, its okay and fits well with characters, which are flat. But the issue here isn't even the aesthetics, but the overpromise and underdeliver that Microsoft sadly tend to do at times.
  • "more visible"
    No 🤣
    Can people that know nothing about how design and color works stop saying that?
    Those flat emoji will look invisible almost in every app or website.
  • Yes this is a big deal as people are fed up with Microsoft over promising and under delivering. Look at all the settings that were removed from the taskbar, which have more or less been there since Windows 95. Microsoft need to get their s**t together or hand the reigns to Stardock as they clearly know what people want!
  • Well, I'll agree that Stardock knows what *some* people want...
  • "Microsoft need to get their s**t together or hand the reigns to Stardock as they clearly know what people want!"
    lol "what people want" translation = "you"
  • Here we have one of the best examples of 'first world problems' and people who lack any sense of perspective. Well done.
  • Don't think I've ever used them on a PC before. I rarely use them on my phone.
  • I am actually disappointed. The 3D ones were gorgeous and unique. These just look and feel incredibly generic to me. It's not make or break but just another disappointing thing about Windows 11 to add onto the pile.
  • I wish there was a "I wanted the 3D ones, but it's not the end of the world" option 😜
  • This is the internet and it demands polarization! Are you grabbing your pitchforks with us or not?
  • Loved this reaction. :-) Any form of mockery that diminishes the angst and rage over trivial problems would be good. When you're upset about an emoji or anything else that doesn't really affect your life, that's a good sign that your life is really, really good, giving the you luxury of caring about trivialities, instead of surviving, finding food, paying the rent, or walking around outside without being mugged or killed. Even the term "micro-aggression" is now a common phrase. The name really says it all. It's not a real aggression, it's just something that some people might choose to take offense upon hearing in order to gain the glory of victim status. Ugh. These complaints reveal the lack of character of the complainer more than anything else. Sorry, now I'm doing it.
  • " "micro-aggression" ... It's not a real aggression, it's just something that some people might choose to take offense upon hearing in order to gain the glory of victim status." Yeah, that's definitely not true. Mocking people taking offense over trivial things is one thing; deciding things are trivial because you think they are is another.
  • For me I'm on the camp of 2D is fine, 3D is neat, but I'm mad about Microsoft bad communication and "overpromised then underdeliver" approach. They have been talking about their new emoji design and seems to specifically said getting it 3D or how that design shows more emotions or something. And yet they deliver a different what they were talking about and over hyping it.
  • My Disappointment is Immeasurable and my Day is Ruined.
  • I'm starting a support group. You are in charge of donuts.
  • A New Day has dawned and I've moved on to my newest advocacy to ruin my day, but thanks. Today's advocacy : Donut companies cut out the center of round, tasty, sticky sweet confections and call them donuts only to sell the cut outs themselves as another product entireley!!! The horror! The indignation! These black-hearted profiteer's day has come! Cancel Donuts!!! Cancel Them all!!! Support bagels. Support croissants!
  • This makes my head hurt. I need a nap. Nurse!
  • By definition, this is the quintessential first world problem. I honestly didn't know anyone actually used the Windows emojis simply because they were a pain to get to. That said, this whole Windows 11 thing feels like a project manager got a bonus for delivering Windows 11 by a certain date because his bonus target neglected to actually lay out quality standards.
  • I do not realy care that much, it would had been nice to get new emojis as the old ones was not that fantastic but I will live thru this crises. What Microsoft need to think about is how they sell themself in commercials and then do not deliver. I had planned to get the Duo2 but now I will wait as Microsoft clearly coulnt fullfill on its monthly update promise. I do not count barebone security updates as fullfilling the original promise. If Microsoft keep this overpromising and underdelivering up they may lose more than me as a customer.
  • " I will wait as Microsoft clearly coulnt fullfill on its monthly update promise"
    The only month they missed was December. Every month did get a security patch and most months had firmware/OS fixes. That (OS fixes/optimizations) stopped around June as they prep for A11 (still on for "before the end of the year."). You could argue A11 is taking too long (very fair), but they certainly did deliver on monthly updates. Whether you found those updates satisfying or not is a separate question.
  • I'm very disappointed at Micro$oft releasing these 2D emojis, however, I'll admit they look much better than Windows 10's Metro emojis. I have *one* major, gigantic complaint though.
    Where the #$*&@ are the Ninja Cat emojis???
    I am extremely upset at Micro$oft for, not only they did not update their design, their glyphs and code points have been completely removed from the font file. How could they!!
  • Really? Bastards. It's still alive on Windows 10 though. 🐱‍👤
  • I am very happy to humor these somewhat trivial differences over emoji design. Think about all the other things people have taken issue with in the past, like the gay couple emojis and the female firefighter emoji. This is progress! Really!
  • Were people actually complaining about those though, outside of the usual spots where people fuss over trivial things? To be honest, the emojis could do with better organization. I never bother with the people emojis (outside of the single person shrug one) because they tried to cover every possible human/sexual orientation/family configuration and I can't tell what I'm looking at anymore because they amount to about 92 blobs that blend together in a tiny space.
  • "outside of the usual spots where people fuss over trivial things?" Do the comments on WC articles count? Butt-hurt conservative men have been complaining about this stuff out loud everywhere they can for years. I am specifically talking about inclusive emojis. If the clutter bothers you, one way to help is to type a keyword first and it will filter the emoji selection. Win + . + "ninja" = 🐱‍👤. Also, use your emoji history so you don't have to kill yourself hunting for the right one every time.
  • People getting mad about emojis. What a time to be alive.
  • Actually most are mad not by emojis themselves but by the principle, that Microsoft did another "overpromised and underdeliver" thing again. They have been clearly talking about the new emoji design but delivered something different from what people's expectations, based from what they have showcased before. It's their bad communication that Microsoft really needs to fix. If they clearly said they only delivery 2D ones, they they should done so at the first place and communicate that. If this is just a pre-release emoji for 3D ones, they should have said that, but no they just release it and leave. Its like somebody tells you they will deliver you an apple pie, but the actual lie you got isn't made from real apple.
  • @aXcross well said.
  • The continued use of marketing videos that show amazing UIs, emojis etc., and then producing something that doesn't even come close is ... uh, crazy? This is a recurrent theme and I don't know why they continue to do so. Maybe they should move some of their marketing people onto the UX team.
  • Priorities, Sets and tabs in Explorer ignored, all efforts to emojis
  • People are not mad at the emoji, but the attitude of Microsoft. It always draws a wonderful concept and does not deliver, which made people could hardly believe its blueprint. Maybe tomorrow Microsoft will announce the subsystem of Android is also a joking advertisement.
  • Oh please. Enough already with “whateverGATE”. It is way overused, incredibly stupid and most people today don’t even understand the reference. What if the office building in question in 1972 was the World Trade Center? Would this then be Emojicenter? Try coming up with something original, FFS.
  • In 1982, my friend and I "surfed" the fountains at Watergate.
  • Apparently, my comment needs to be more than three words C:\ del *.*
  • I didn't even know that Windows 10 had emojis. Discord has it's own and Viber has it's own. No emoji of today comes even close to what we had with MSN anyways.
  • Windows key + . For emoji keyboard.
  • Roflmao... People fussing over emojis.... Oh Jeez... Seriously though Microsoft is really wearing out people's goodwill. As the saying goes never overpromise and under deliver. Always, under promise and over deliver. Externally this is a bad look as it effectively states Microsoft's poor communication skills also applies internally. Seriously, get it together Microsoft. Communicate, Explain and Implement.
  • Windows 10 emoji where the best. Good readability, scalable, versatile, pro.
    Windows 11 3D emoji where fun. Good colors, good gradients, they pop.
    Windows 11 flat emoji are the worst. Bad readability, bad colors, bad contrast.
  • Windows 10 emoji where the best. Good readability, scalable, versatile, pro.
    Windows 11 3D emoji where fun. Good colors, good gradients, they pop.
    Windows 11 flat emoji are the worst. Bad readability, bad colors, bad contrast