Microsoft’s diverse new Xbox Live avatars will launch in April

Microsoft is planning to launch its new Xbox Live Avatars next month. The software giant first unveiled the redesigned avatars at E3 last year, and originally planned to provide them to Windows 10 users by the end of 2017. Microsoft missed that target, but sources familiar with the company’s Xbox plans tell The Verge that it will preview the new avatars to Xbox Insiders this month. Microsoft’s Xbox employees already have access to the new avatar system, and the Xbox Alpha group of testers will get access first before they’re broadly available next month.

The new avatars will let you fully customize your online character with new body type options, clothing, and props. Microsoft is offering a variety of options that focus on diversity, and the company’s original trailer showed an amputee, playful costumes, wheelchairs, skateboards, and even motorbikes to highlight all of the props and customization that will be available.

New avatars on Xbox One

Microsoft will integrate the new avatar system widely in the Xbox One dashboard, and the characters will be available on the homescreen area. We understand Microsoft is also planning to open a new avatar store in May, allowing Xbox Live users to purchase props, clothing, and additional customizations for their avatars. Microsoft’s previous avatar system, designed for the Xbox 360 era, also had its own store.

The new avatars are created in the Unity engine, making it a lot easier to customize them and add additional props. They’re designed to replace the avatars originally introduced alongside the Xbox 360 in 2008. Sources tell us that Microsoft will eventually allow third-party developers to build their own props and clothing, and sell these items in Microsoft’s digital store.

Update, 9:45AM ET: Added an image of the avatars inside the Xbox One dashboard.

Comments

This is cool. Missed an opportunity to team up with Ready Player One though for that advert!

speaking of missed opportunities…MS recently purchased AltSpaceVR. There should be a MS strategy to unify their Xbox Avatars with the AltSpaceVR avatars. A consistent company platform…come on MS!

They should make a VRChat or PlayStation Home like virtual world with that acquisition, with the rise of AR/VR there’s another resurgence of interest on this type of games and interactions again. They should enter to this opportunity before anyone else (PlayStation, Nintendo, Facebook/Oculus lol)

Tho they should make a VR move on Xbox first. Cmon

they have a Mixed Reality world already in Windows. Just need to unify Mixed Reality with AltSpaceVR, Xbox Avatars and yes bring VR/MR to the console.

Have they said anything about current assets and avatars?
They have been selling items on the Xbox store since the 360, some also tied to achievements. I wonder if those will be lost, or if I will have to rebuilt my avatar.

Too bad Nintendo is moving away from Mii’s with the Switch. I loved making those things. Hopefully they return for the new Smash Bros.

Isn’t there some new Switch game coming out that uses a modified version of your Mii? I feel like I saw that – like your Mii was turned into an animal or something. Maybe they’re planning to bring it back?

I believe that was a 3DS game. However Miis still exist. You can use them as a profile picture and the Mii creator is pretty much the same as the one on Wii U, but it is hidden away in the settings menu.

I wonder how many people will even care? The use of the current 360-era avatars is nearly non-existent on the X1. I’m not even sure how to see my old avatar on the X1 without searching for a while.
Guess the new ones could bring a larger, more prominent presence on the X1 when they arrive.

Avatars were tacked onto the Xbox One in a minimal way. Supposedly these avatars are much more present and are also tied to their planned evolution of the achievement system called Careers.

This. Glad to see they’re planning to bring avatars back to the forefront of XBOX. I literally don’t even know where to find it other than the Windows 10 XBOX Avatars app….from my computer!

They appear on pinned friends on the home screen

It seems like almost everything MS is doing with the Xbox is awesome and pushing gaming forward and it’s a shame that they are held back by the lack of good exclusives compared to Sony. I love the 360 but after I got the xbox one I shortly moved onto the PS4 with most of my friends. Sony has a lot of awesome exclusives I wanted to play and xbox doesn’t seem to have anything I want, and the one game I loved was forza horizons which I got on pc anyways.

Your comment made me remember I forgot to include the image of the avatars running in the new Xbox One dashboard. I’ve added it now, and this is a good example of why comments are the best.

I guess these will be used as avatars for Microsoft’s Mixed Reality social place thing. Didn’t they acquire some company that created a virtual meet up environment?

I care. Both me and my partner use our avatars as our Xbox… erm… avatar, but they haven’t had my hairstyle, or anything really close to it, so I’m hoping I can get a bit closer with the new ones.

Xbox Avatar + Galaxy S9 ARmoji = yay!
haha

that’s what i also thought.
they could just ad facetracking and the Xbox avatars to their swift key app and/or skype apps and i’m sure people would be more into that, then those Galaxy Armoji characters.

That would be kinda cool and probably take a TON of work (and maybe another total overhaul haha), but maybe!

I enjoyed the avatars on the 360, but hardly noticed they were even available on the XB1. These look cool.

Nintendo should add a Mii Maker app to the Switch. Does the Switch even support Miis?

There already is a Mii Maker on the Switch. It’s in settings.

For some reason I don’t really understand (I’m gonna file it under ‘Nintendo is bad at online’), the Mii Maker on Switch still isn’t integrated with the rest of Nintendo’s online infrastructure. You can create a Mii on your Switch, but if you log into accounts.nintendo.com, you can’t select that Mii to represent your account , even if you’re logged into your Nintendo account on your Switch. The ones from Miitomo and Nintendo Network ID (ie. 3DS/Wii U) are there, but not the Switch one.

With VR coming to Xbox it will be really nice to have these higher quality avatars. Still really like the idea of Avatars and these designs will work great for most developer needs.

Hopefully desktop and MR developers get access to these also. They would be perfect for HoloLens.

Are these avatars "creepy" too? Narrative consistency, Verge, please.

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