Posts Tagged ‘Xbox Avatars’

Microsoft takes an interest in your fat Avatar

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

Do you want them knowing your weight?

Microsoft patent details technology to make 360′s avatars have same physical appearance as their real-world counterparts, and thereby promote physical fitness.

(Gamespot) – Microsoft has shown a keen interest in boosting the Xbox 360′s status as a community hub. Leading this initiative has been Xbox Live Avatars, which offer a 3D representation of their owners on the online service. Now, Microsoft is contemplating tying real-world health and psychological data to said avatars in an effort to discourage many-a-gamer’s sedentary lifestyle.

Last week, Microsoft’s patent application titled “Avatar Individualized by Physical Characteristic” popped up in the US Patent and Trademark Offices’ online database. The filing details a way in which Microsoft can introduce a heightened degree of reality into the appearance of gamers’ avatars by utilizing a third-party health-care data repository (Microsoft gives Health Vault as an example) or a Wii Vitality Sensor-like device.

To incentivize people to improve their physical well-being, Microsoft’s filing notes that gamers will be locked out of certain components of a game or a chat room until the proper health parameters are met.

“Physical data that reflects a degree of health of the real person can be linked to rewards of capabilities of a gaming avatar, an amount of time budgeted to play, or a visible indication,” the filing reads. “Thereby, people are encouraged to exercise.”

“For example, a locally executed video game on a game console or other device capable of interactive play rewards players that have achieved a degree of health or athletic skill in real life, even if played in a solitary fashion,” the filing reads. “Alternatively or in addition, the degree of health can unlock additional playing time or can unlock certain aspects of a game, such as additional levels.”

Microsoft’s patent application might tie in with Project Natal, the Xbox 360′s forthcoming camera-based motion-sensing add-on. As part of its 2009 Electronic Entertainment Expo press conference, Microsoft showed off how the device will scan a person’s body and represent it onscreen via physically proportionate silhouette. It also showed off several activity-oriented titles in development for Project Natal, including the physically demanding Ricochet, a 3D, full-body version of Breakout.

Microsoft’s filing goes on to note that it wouldn’t just be physical characteristics that could be refined. “The physical characteristics can be further extended to psychological traits associated with the physical person, including intelligence, religious beliefs, political affiliations, and hobbies that affect the rendering of an avatar,” the application reads.

The filing also indicates ways in which Microsoft can facilitate determining an individual’s mental health or mood. “For example, as a person utilizes Voice over IP to chat with a viewing person in the virtual environment, stress could be detected to gauge honesty,” the application notes. “As another example, skin resistance, pulse, and breathing could be detected to gauge mood.”

According to the filing, the data will be beneficial to individuals looking to “meet and become acquainted with particular types of people.” Microsoft’s application notes that while self-defined avatars allow people to “overcome shortcomings that would otherwise inhibit them, such as pertaining to self-consciousness,” there are those who would prefer to have “the cues that are available in meeting someone in person.”

Suit up for Halloween on Xbox Live!

Friday, October 16th, 2009
It's not Halloween without a Lycanthrope.

It's not Halloween without a Lycanthrope.

Time to get festive and start loading up on Microsoft Points, it’s Halloween and now you can suit up you Avatar with some new scary, and some not so scary threads.

And although these are not flammable costumes like the ones I used to wear from the local Wallgreens, they are somewhat reminiscent.

There are 16 costumes to choose from running at 240 MS points each, that’s roughly about $3. Pretty close to what I remember paying for my Gene Simmons mask that was like 108 degrees on the inside, in Texas heat.

Not all of the outfits include a mask so yeah, you get stuck paying another 80 MS points for the final capper. Anyhow, dress up, outdo your Xbox Live friends and take your All Hallows Eve spirit online and fire up some Resident Evil, or Left 4 Dead and get to hurtin some zombies.

And for pete’s sake don’t forget to wear your seatbelt, and so forth (if you haven’t seen Zombieland than just take that literally, /wink).

-Crutchboy Out

Xbox Live Avatar Arcade

Thursday, October 8th, 2009
Hope they don't run on MS Points.

Hope they don't run on MS Points.

So what’s this all about? Pictures are showing up depicting a handful of Xbox Live Avatars standing at Atari-branded arcade cabinets, similar to the virtual game parlors in PlayStation Home, but instead of joysticks and buttons, the control panels on each of the cabinets have been replaced by Atari 2600 machines. All but one of the marquees on the cabinets are unreadable.

Not onlys is Atari on display in the Avatar arcade, banners hanging from the wall suggest that we may see other old school consoles like Intellivision, or hell who knows maybe even Colecovision. Intellivision games like Shark! Shark! and Star Strike will also be available for play in the Avatar arcade.

“Along the bottom of the screenshots are a series of nearly unreadable button prompts, apparently indicating that players will be able to customize their own arcades, change themes, and edit the machines which machines are in the room” says

Will this happen? Considering all of the signs out there, we are speculating ‘most likely’. That’s too much evidence to be a complete farce. It would be nice to see some more interactive options with our well so decked out Xbox Live Avatars, they are awesomely stylized and need some more functionality. Mine just waves at me when I log on. And I can tell he’s ‘itchin to get up on some ‘Pitfall’ action since I wont spend the 500MS points on that awesome Lightsaber he keeps pointing at. Maybe for Xmas, we’ll see.



Mass Effect’s new DLC this week “Pinnacle Station”

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009


BioWare’s Pinnacle Station DLC for Mass Effect landed this week on Xbox Live. According to the DLC’s online description, Pinnacle Station will force you to “test the limits of your combat prowess aboard a remote, top-secret Alliance space station,” battling through 13 new “combat scenarios,” and adding 2 to 3 hours of play time to the soon-to-be-sequeled space opera.

Mass Effect has always been a hit with us at the office here at (we’ve all got several playthroughs), and we were excited to see this surprise new content, with very little notice and only dabs of rumors here and there.

And of course to make me want to spend a few more microsoft points, along with the announcment of the DLC comes a mess of new fashionable Avatar items to play dress up with. Helmets, armor suits and even T-Shirts are availible for purchase online via yet more microtransactions (heil Microsoft).

We hope to jump alittle deeper into Mass Effect 2 next week at the Bioware exhibit in Seattle Washington at the Penny Arcade Expo Sept 4-6, and get some good hands on reports and such to share back with you, so stay tuned!

-BG Crew

NXE Avatar Awards

Friday, August 14th, 2009
Save your straggling MS points for some new threads!

Save your straggling MS points for some new threads!

Ever noticed a strange Beta 2009 icon appearing on some Xbox 360 ‘Played Games’ profiles? Could it be related to something important, sources tell Joystiq that Microsoft is internally testing Avatar awards.

From what we’ve heard, the test is an executable build for Beta users to play with the awards program before it launches. Avatar awards are triggered by in-game achievements: when a player unlocks an award, clothing was the only specific award noted, it is made available in the Avatar customization menu of the NXE. Select Xbox 360 users are already sporting fancy new threads, which are presumably related to this beta test.

We have been waiting for this for awhile, and It’s a great addition to slicking up your Xbox Avatar. And with that of course, there is strong speculation to there being accessable avatar ‘clothes stores’ that cost ‘real money’ under construction too. Haha, more microtransactions for the industry, *bling*.


Submitted to by Shlitzboy13.

Now your Xbox Live Avatar can rock!

Friday, July 31st, 2009


Activision rhythm rocker will allow use of virtual alter egos as playable characters on Microsoft’s console.

(Gamestop) – Yesterday, Activision revealed the last batch of tunes from Guitar Hero 5′s 85-song setlist, but the publisher has plenty left to talk about with its upcoming rhythm game. For example, Activision today confirmed that the Xbox 360 version of Guitar Hero 5 will incorporate Microsoft’s user-customized avatars.

In addition to the roster of Guitar Hero staples, such as Axel Steel and the army of create-a-character options, Xbox 360 players will be able to play as their avatars onstage, whether it’s behind a guitar, drums, or microphone. Don’t expect the avatars to indulge in a rock-and-roll lifestyle, though. The restrictions Microsoft imposes on how its gamer proxies are portrayed in XBL Indie games presumably apply to standard third-party publishers as well.

As with last year’s Guitar Hero: World Tour, Guitar Hero 5 lets gamers accompany playable tunes on the guitar, bass, drums, or microphone. The publisher is also lifting the restriction on the one-instrument, one-player rules that have defined the series. Instead, rhythm rockers will be able to use any combination of instruments for any given song, with Activision giving the example of two guitars and two sets of drums rocking out together.

Guitar Hero 5 will be available September 1 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, and Wii.

[Full article at]

The New Xbox Experience is Here!

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

Gather up all of your extra gamer credits!

(Newsfactor) – Microsoft launched its New Xbox Experience on Wednesday, expanding the existing service to compete with Sony in turning the video-game console into an entertainment hub.

Don Mattrick, senior vice president of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business, said the New Xbox Experience is the future for home entertainment. “It’s on-demand, it’s high-definition, it’s always social, it’s all in one place,” he said.

The Xbox experience includes the instant-streaming availability of Netflix movies and TV episodes in high definition from such studios as Disney, MGM, NBC Universal, and Warner Bros. To use the Netflix service, Xbox LIVE Gold members also need to be Netflix subscribers.

Live Party will allow a user to create a virtual party with up to seven friends. Users can employ voice chat while playing games and share photos in real time. “Personality plus” is a feature in which an animated avatar can be created, becoming a user’s “face” for games, parties or other interaction.

There’s also a “personal game room” where users can play classics like Pac-Man Championship Edition, Galaga Legions, and Portal: Still Alive. Other games, such as A Kingdom for Keflings, UNO, Hardwood Hearts, and Hardwood Spades — which are only available for downloading from the Xbox Live arcade — allow the user to put his or her avatar into the game action.

The Xbox is also opening to community-created games. A Community Games channel on Xbox Live will offer titles from third-party creators.

Microsoft is also touting its relationships with a variety of major studios that will offer feature films on the Xbox in the U.S., Canada, Italy and Spain. The company said this will transform “Xbox 360 into the world’s largest online entertainment center.”

XBOX 360 Avatar store to go online

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

More ways to spend your live credits?
On November 19, Microsoft will at long last roll out its highly promoted new look for the Xbox Live dashboard, what it calls the New Xbox Experience. Counted among the new features are an avatar-based community system, Netflix integration for online movie-watching, and the ability to install games to the system’s external storage device for faster loading times.

Microsoft is also promising a handful of features in the coming months that didn’t make into the Xbox Live overhaul’s November release, such as video-sharing and the community game show channel Xbox Live Primetime. Speaking to UK gaming site VideoGamer this week, Microsoft revealed one more feature in the offing is an Avatar Store, which it expects to release next spring.

The Avatar Store promises to make good on Microsoft’s claim of a “limitless” number of new items that Xbox 360 gamers can use to deck out their digital personas.

“The plan of record will be to launch a more extensive Avatar Store from spring time onwards next year, and that store in theory would have branded content in there, game publisher IP stuff in there as well,” said Robin Burrowes, Xbox Live product manager for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. “There’s a whole creative canvas for these things. Due to tight time lines there’s nothing at launch as such, but our vision for these in the future is well and truly tied to game releases and us working with publishers very closely to encourage rewards from those games to be tied to your Avatar.”

Burrowes went on to explain to VideoGamer that players will also be able to pick up “more animations, more customise capabilities in terms of emotions and features but then also as well wardrobe enhancements over the course of time, so fashion brands hopefully launching new ranges through Avatars being one route.”

The Europe-centric Microsoft representative noted that a pricing model had not yet been established for the Avatar Store. Microsoft’s North American arm had not commented on this report as of press time.