E3 08: Xbox avatars announced

Microsoft has revealed a new system of avatars as part of a radical redesign of the Xbox 360 dashboard interface, designed to challenge Nintendo’s ‘Mii’ creation.

Developed by Banjo Kazooie studio Rare, the mini-characters were unveiled to the platform holder’s media audience at its E3 conference in LA this morning.

Each avatar has a very detailed range of visual characteristics to choose from, including hair, facial features and clothing.

Xbox execs Shane Kim, Don Mattrick and John Schappert – head of Xbox Live – showed off their own creations

The news system forms part of what the firm is calling ‘ the new Xbox experience’ – a dashboard update due for autumn that has been designed to make the console more family friendly.

A new Xbox channel, Xbox PrimeTime, will allow the avatars to play against each other in quiz gameshows recognisable from TV – with real prizes up for the grabs. A deal with Endemol will see shows such as Deal Or No Deal and 1vs.100 included.

This makes your Xbox 360 look and feel more fun, simple and social,” Schappert told the crowd.

We’ve made Xbox Live more personal than ever before with these avatars – you can express you personality and style to reflect who you are, or who you want to be.

Xbox Primetime combines the best of television and the best of games to deliver an entirely new experience. It’s an example of how we’re opening up the next frontier in entertainment.

Instead of turning on your TV this Fall, you’ll turn on your Xbox to see what’s online.”

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