Forgive me, I’ve been hands-off with the Xbox platform for quite a while now but Microsoft’s E3 2017 conference today definitely stirred my dormant green-and-white spirit. After the show I wound up on the Scorpio page — errr, Xbox One X page, still getting used to the sound of that — and what do I see towards the bottom? The image above featuring what immediately struck me as Xbox Avatars 2.0.
The image is couched by bullet points touting the ease of bringing your existing content to the One X and the robust multiplayer of the Xbox Live service. It seems perfectly fitting to represent the Xbox community with the cast of multi-cultural mannequins seen above.
If these really are newfangled Avatars they’re sporting more polygons than ever before with more realistic faces and even an array of facial expressions. The current Avatars retain their “Mii too” appearance with flat facial features and minimal animation. Hopefully we find out more this week on the Xbox One X’s Dashboard and how Avatars fit into this burgeoning generation of Xbox.
UPDATE June 14th: Well I called it on the 2.0 thing but there’s so much more to the new Xbox Avatars than just facial animations and skin color. During one of Microsoft’s Xbox Daily streams this week the footage above was shown with Xbox Product Manager Bryan Saftler narrating.
“Avatars are meant for whatever you want your digital self to represent,” Saftler explains. “We don’t want to put you in a box, there are no more checkboxes, no matter what you think you look like or what you want to present online.”
The new Avatars not only accommodate personal gender and race identity, there will now be prosthetic limbs, wheelchairs, and even a pregnant toggle to fully customize your online appearance. Naturally, this means costumes and props won’t be restricted to male or female Avatars anymore. “If you can see it in the store you can wear it,” states Kathryn Storm, interaction designer at Xbox. “We’re not holding you to any type of checkboxes.”
Microsoft plans to debut “Avatars 2.0” on Windows 10 later this year before bringing them to Xbox consoles down the line. Thanks to The Verge for catching this news on the daily streams, I’m feeling a little overwhelmed with trying to keep up!