MICROSOFT E3 ANNOUNCEMENT: XBL AVATARS
Microsoft announced today a new part of the Microsoft Blade and Xbox OS intergration — an Avatar system similar to the Nintendo Wii. The system integrates with a variety of games and is also ready for all games by Rare (and in fact were created by Rare for Microsoft.)
Avatars express your persionality — you can customize hair, clothing and everything else about you. The avatars are fully 3D and are animated in the Blade. This shows up on the user system. You can buy new clothes and other items (including assumedly pay-for-DLC). Avatars are visable right on the frontend and are attached to all user profiles, so your friend list will automatically show the 3D version of your character.
Although Microsoft didn’t announce any new locations for Avatar chat, there was a fly-by sequence shown at E3 that featured an outdoor scenario similar to the Wii Parade area. Microsoft did announce a “Party” area where you can share photos, chat, and do other things online with groups. There are also games (set up as Game Shows) on Xbox Live Primetime that groups can play together.
The system is designed to be very easy to integrate for developers as well as very easy to create for users. The editing system appeared to be incredibly simple to create an avatar (although the face editing system was not shown.) The first game shown for the Avatar system was called Uno Rush, and also a version of 1 versus 100 was shown as part of the Primetime game channel.
Xbox 360’s Avatar system will come with the new Microsoft system update to be released this fall.