XBL AVATARS MANDATORY
– Part of Microsoft’s push at the Tokyo Game Show this year has been the so-called “New Xbox Experience,” which is another way of describing the Xbox Live Dashboard overhaul scheduled to go live on Nov. 19. And Microsoft is so excited about the Avatars portion of the updated service that it plans to force all users to adopt one of the cutesy, non-threatening personas.
In a meeting with journalists at TGS this week, Microsoft’s group product manager for Xbox 360, Aaron Greenberg, said all users will be required to choose an avatar as a visual representation of themselves when they boot up the new dash.
“We’re forcing you to have a visual representation of yourself,” Greenberg said, when asked if he thought hardcore gamers would be put off by the requirement. “But you can make a pretty badass avatar.”
However, that doesn’t mean you have to use your new friend, or even take more than half a minute creating him or her. At the outset of the Avatar creation process, you’ll be greeted by a cavalcade of pre-made Avatars who’ll romp onto the screen for your choosing.
If you like, you can pick one of these templates and customize it to your liking. Or, if you’re the Scrooge McDuck type, you can just button mash until an Avatar is picked and filed away. If you so desire, you never have to use your Avatar again, as the same functions that are in the Guide currently will be available in the NXE.
When the service launches next month, all the accoutrements available for your Avatar (haircuts, clothing, etc.) will be gratis. But when asked if that will continue indefinitely, Greenburg said Microsoft is keeping its options open. So if you’re planning on outfitting your character with Armani suits and Ray-Bans, be prepared to possibly pay for the privilege down the line.
My Two Cents:
This is what I was worried about with the Playstation Home service for the PS3. I am not a big fan of the avatars(even the Mii’s bug me after awhile).