Microsoft is expected to launch its new Xbox Live Avatars sometime in April, following a long delay. The new avatar scheme was outlined at E3, last summer and they were slated to arrive by the autumn but this never materialised. Half a year later, sources familiar with the company’s plans have said the new avatars are being primed for launch.
In terms of the current state of the rollout, sources say that Microsoft Xbox employees have the new avatars already and that the Xbox Alpha group testers will gain access too at some point before the wider roll out. When the new avatars are finally released, users will have more control over the look and style of their virtual self.
Microsoft’s Mike Ybarra said in a tweet that the new avatars will ship when they’re ready, but given the source’s information and the significant delay that we’ve experienced, April or May seem like a very reasonable launch window.
The new avatars are built using the Unity engine which makes it easier for new props to be added to the catalogue; Microsoft apparently wants to let third-party developers build their own props and custom clothing which they’ll be able to sell in an avatar store that Microsoft is believed to launch in May. From the get-go, Microsoft will be focusing on making avatars more inclusive than those that rolled out with the Xbox 360; for example, the company’s trailer shows an amputee, a wheelchair, a wide array of costumes, as well as a motorbike and a skateboard.
Source: The Verge