E3 2008: Avatars go Live on Xbox 360 this fall

Microsoft unveils new avatar feature coming as part of a major system update later in the year.

After being leaked previously, Microsoft's head of live software and services John Schappert took to the stage during Microsoft's E3 press conference and officially announced that Avatars would be coming to Xbox 360 with a new system update this fall. The major upgrade will see a completely redesigned dashboard complete with new tabs including "Community" and "My Xbox."

Avatars will allow 360 owners to create their own virtual self, complete with an assortment of hairstyles, clothes (including pants, shirts, and hats), and accessories. While Nintendo's Wii had Mii avatars at launch, and Sony's Home avatars have been announced coming to the PlayStation 3, the Xbox 360 avatars seem to be a balance between the stylised look of Miis, and the more realistically proportioned Home avatars. The currently signed-in account's avatar is displayed next to their gamertag and achievement points in the My Xbox channel.

Schappert then introduced a video from the team at Rare, who explained some of the features of Avatars including a supposed "limitless" amount of new clothes and fashions. The new Community channel will let you to see your online friends' avatars in a virtual space, rather than the list view currently in the Xbox 360 dashboard.

The avatars are coming! The avatars are coming!

A new "Live Party" feature will let owners chat and interact with up to eight friends in a party group. In addition, a new photo-sharing option will allow friends to share photos between party members. Xbox Live Arcade titles such as the upcoming Uno Rush will also feature support for Avatars. Avatars will be available when the new system update goes live this fall.

Written By

Former staff writer for GameSpot.co.uk, now marketing guy for a certain major online retailer....

Discussion

161 comments
tinsley-monster
tinsley-monster

JohnnieMac24, Bioshock was a good game. Not great. Way too linear. no big bosses. except for atlas at the end of the game, who was way too easy to beat.

Nick974
Nick974

Do you know when exactly cuz there was an Xbox update september 29 and nothing has changed on my Xbox. I want to know cuz it look realy cool better then Mii

bgres077
bgres077

LOL, Mii copy, it is kinda cool though.

JohnnieMac24
JohnnieMac24

Honestly, I'm sick and tired of you so called "hard-core" gamers ripping on any and everything that invokes change to the industry. Gaming is nt a niche entertainment medium any longer so stop treating it like one. Its mainstream now and yes that does mean we have to put up with Casual Crap like Wii sports and all those crappy movie licensed games. But in the long run its better for the industry, because with casual gamers bringing money for casual games more money is available for great games like bioshock, Cod4 (whoever says this game is nt good is crazy) MGS4, Mass Effect and many others...I think your more upset at the fact that your "niche" has been accepted by society as something fun. Gaming, which made your individuality is now mainstream. accept change.

tim591
tim591

I trust Microsoft to make this work smoothly. There is no reason to doubt them at this point, they have given the xbox 360 the best online community of this or any other generation. And "If it aint broke, dont fix it" doesnt apply here. It was broke. I love xbox live but cannot really fugure out how to get to all the media available on xbl

punkdsk8erdude
punkdsk8erdude

i have mixed feelings. I feel like the new dashboard sort of looks vageuly similar to the ps3, although it very much so looks lik vista's media center, its pretty cool. I like it. I don't think there was anything wrong w/ the blades system though. the only thing that they are upgrading that might actually be useful is the blades when u press the center button on the controller during the middle of a game as opposed to that little side screen thingy. That willbe better. As far as the avatars go - i don;t think its necessary, but to throw it in there as an added bonus is smart strategy. ps3 and 360 are slowly taking away some key selling points of the wii. First avatars, and eventually that Darwin motion sensing controller too. As far as how they look, i would have prefered realistic avatars like sony's HOME thing but w/e. at least they arent totally a cartoon like the Wii. I just don't really see the purpose in them unless you can use them in games or something, and then who would use it in a game if the cartoony look doesn't fit the game art style? No one lol. So whatever. I think its pretty cool, the overall upgrade, and its a nice change of pace. No complaints really. Just, don't totally see the point

cwiver
cwiver

I've played with the avatars...they're so much better than mii's :)

aufshnitt
aufshnitt

Triforce12: what the heck are you talking about? Yes dreamcast was online but you didnt get your own unique avatar. something that identifies you among everyone else. Furthermore NES and SNES had NOTHING to do with online.

Darrius117
Darrius117

i think it looks ok but i prefer the way it looks now

jasonheyman
jasonheyman

Think its gonna be great improvment! Makes it more personal than ever before yet!

tkstickupkid
tkstickupkid

I Think its a great idea 360 has alot of great things to offer why not add more an netflix who else got dat now for da suckers dat luv 2 lap ride sony an nintendo i would like to see them copy ms an get sum better games hurts don t it update is in novmber

whantwhant
whantwhant

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Triforce12
Triforce12

To Knightwing X7. Not only did dreamcast do online play but both the NES and SNES had it too. so I think you'll find Microsoft were not the first. ButI do agreewith the business thing

slothrox
slothrox

Groovy, so guess this means MS will be shelling out refunds for all those gamerpics and themes we've all paid for....pffft fat chance! We should all get a few months free subscription to make up for it. Better yet, never pay for it again!

ktdc_lb
ktdc_lb

I wonder if Microsoft have ever heard of the saying "if it aint broke don't fix it" ?

bandit424
bandit424

Does anyone know when this update is being released? {And no-one answer with Fall/Autumn} ;D Also I'm unsure about the Avatars because: they work for the wii but xbox {to me seems more like a hardcore system for hardcore fans but we'll have to see how it works out}

bboy71294
bboy71294

im looking forward more to the new dashboard than the avatars because the old on is losing its touch to me and microsoft is only adding avatars to keep up with other consoles

joseph_mach
joseph_mach

If MS is going to go through with the Avatars, then I'd think they should hold back on the release, and tweak them... alot. Take some surveys, or some customer feedback and apply it to what really looks to be a Mii knockoff. I know that every system is eventually going to have this feature built in, but at least make it as "original" or have something that sets it apart and truly makes it seem like nothing else on another system. This just feels rushed and uninspired in my opinion. I like where you're heading with it MS, but change it up a bit.

Jerell_rast
Jerell_rast moderator

I really don't see the need to complicate things.

Ecartmanx
Ecartmanx

Well people i guess I am the bearer of great news as most people think the avatars are childish (me being one of thos plp) im hear to tell you theres and option to not have one but also,there will be achievments where you can get different clothing ie,marcus fenix, or master chief ---------im not sure this is 100% true but something along the lines of this

emerald101
emerald101

I completely agree with ironphalax@: I use to own a 360 but i still feel sorrow for the hardcore 360 all the way fans. Especially the mature ones who wont give a flying crap about there avatars. Oh well looks like its back to kindergarten kids YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!

_Sam_
_Sam_

the standard ones were getting rather boring, especially since so many people used the same ones

grambyte
grambyte

Can't I turn it off? How do I turn it off?

KnightwingX7
KnightwingX7

Let's Get Things Straight. Microsoft was the FIRST console company to truly make your online identity persistent throughout everything you do online. Now that Nintendo has and Sony is trying to one-up them with avatars, Microsoft isn't allowing that to happen. In fact, it looks like Microsoft may beat Sony to the punch. That's just good business to not let your competitors get an edge in a market that YOU created!

master_hookshot
master_hookshot

Where is my Bioshock pic going? This bugs me. FALCON PUUUUNNNCHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

master_hookshot
master_hookshot

Wow! how original! The Wii needs to do something like that!

Bufta
Bufta

Microshaft copying others again

Verno77
Verno77

Limitless clothing options if you have limitless money.

jonzilla_basic
jonzilla_basic

It will be good to get some avatars for the 360. I can't wait!

DDR_Midian
DDR_Midian

Yeah but the "limitless" clothes and fashions thing could improve it a lot. Imagine special editions of games coming with unique avatar clothes, how cool would that be? You could dress them up as WW2 soldiers for buying the CoD5 SE or even (god forbid) something like Master Chief.

dragoninc100
dragoninc100

Manny2525 is the best.I think this will make the Wii look retarded after the new Xbox 360 avatars.

gamah_killah
gamah_killah

What a Mii knock-off. I thought Microsoft would make it look more like Home profiles...

mople49
mople49

this looks terrible i got my xbox to escape that cheezy wii look and feel i am not even a big fan of the new interface they are just trying to be a wii knock off and thats sad because the wii was terrible

tigerous
tigerous

Well, this just adds to the list of things I find irritating about microsoft. It's nice to know that the gamerpics and themes I bought are going to become unusuable. If I would have known that was going to happen, I wouldn't have bought them. You know, I already have all three consoles. I'm not in the mood to have my 360 turn into a Wii. I don't want an avatar, I'm perfectly happy with my gamerpics and themes.

razgriz_101
razgriz_101

got to admit avatars is a blatant rip off. still GOW2 looks good.not surprised bout FF13 though with the whole SE optimizing Crystal tools.

Imhotepp
Imhotepp

I'm not into this, but since I'll have to have it, my avatar will kick your avatar's a**.

Galzakian
Galzakian

Microsoft Conference was fail. Just fail.

hunter8man
hunter8man

After the great start MS had to the press conference, they almost ruined it with this crap. The majority of people who bought this were the hardcore gamers who could care less about this. But now, based on the success of the Wii, MS wants to cater to the "casual" gaming crowd. I don't want it, and I wish MS would give us the option as to whether we want to download this or not.

Damake85
Damake85

I personally don't mind the new look of the dash altho it would seem a choice to use the old one would be nice for alot of you folks, and I have a feeling you won't be toying around in the dash when theres LOTS of awesome games out by then anyway.

secertassasin
secertassasin

What about all the themes and pics downloaded for the previous dashboard what a waste. When this softwrae update comes i'll be sure to say no and try to keep the old one as long as possible. Another bad thing too is a grandparent or parent will look at this interface and think its a cute toy for there kid. And next thing you know the kid is trying to play gears or halo. And why cant the avatars be game characters i dont want to pretend to be a cartoony human. why cant i be master cheif of marcus fenix or maybe even a zombie from dead rising. Someone else needs to make a game console and make these three stop competeing. If it didnt have avatars the interface would be somewhat cool. Hopefully they put a option so you can turn them off.

Jebril
Jebril

Whats more important the interface of a console or the games? Fanboys....-_- gotta love em

runstalker
runstalker

I have all the systems and I'm still partial to the PS3's interface. It just feels more sophisticated, like a good, clean, mature interface. The 360 dash is tacky and western. Home will probably destroy this stuff. I've also come to despise anything internet-related that starts with "My" -- so the 'My Xbox' tab is somewhat offensive. But I'm sure I'll come to like these new 360 features. And knock on wood, my Xbox 360 is in great shape just months away from its 3rd birthday.

combatsoldier
combatsoldier

This would be really good if it didnt look so childish. They couldve made it more mature. i want to create warriors and demons etc.

IronPhalanX6
IronPhalanX6

i dont mind the idea but do they have to look so stupid.......yay now i can play dress up