E3 is finished. All the juicy gaming news has been shared and devoured. Which, over the last few years has led Microsoft to start teasing their annual dashboard update. They have started that process this year by releasing a trailer for an upgrade to the much-criticised Avatars. Originally launched in the 360 era, Avatars were designed as a digital representation of us, and led to the availability of costumes and props, some free, but lots were paid DLC, hence the criticism.
Now, I used to enjoy Avatars, especially when a game rewarded you with a new outfit or prop for an in-game achievement, and I saw no need to join in the criticism for a monetary transaction which, shock horror, YOU WERE NOT FORCED TO DO!
These do look very pretty, but it is unclear how they will be used within the new dashboard.
Bryan Saftler, lead project manager at Xbox, said the new Avatars are a “complete redesign” and are being built in the Unity engine, allowing for increased customisation. The new Avatars are “meant for whatever you want your digital self to represent,” said Saftler. “We don’t want to put you in a box.”
As can be seen in the trailer above, the new Avatars will offer multiple options for people with disabilities, including wheelchairs and prosthetics, and will eliminate gender-specific clothing. “If you see it in the store, you can wear it,” said Xbox interaction designer Kathryn Storm.