You know I haven’t even looked at my Xbox avatar in about four years. I know this because he’s still wearing jeans, converse, is holding an Alan Wake book and has a much more generous amount of hair than its user.
Microsoft hasn’t really touched the avatar system either until now. Xbox Avatar 2.0 will be launching later in 2017 and will be much more inclusive of the people using them.
Our new avatars are built with inclusivity absolutely in mind
Kathryn Storm, Xbox
"It’s a brand new design from the ground up," said Xbox’s Brian Saftler speaking on the Xbox E3 Live show. "It’s being built in Unity, which is a brand new engine [for avatars]. Flexibility is super important. When we think about what we want to design for our customers, for our fans, at the end of the day avatars are meant for whatever we want our digital selves to represent. The whole way we built it is so that you can represent your best self on Xbox Live."
Diversity is a core component of the new system. "Our new avatars are built with inclusivity absolutely in mind," said Xbox’s Kathryn Storm. "We want people to feel like we have endless options to really reflect who they are." There will also be no bias to gender in the options for clothing, no size limits for bodies or disabilities or anything that could limit your options. "If you see it in the store, you can wear it," said Storm. "We’re not holding you to any sort of checkboxes."
This is wonderful news as the ability to be confident and accurately represent who you are digitally is an affirming prospect. The video shows new animations and possibilities as well, thanks to the Unity engine’s physics systems. On display were prosthetic limbs and wheelchairs doing many different active animations, such as playing football.
I always liked the avatar system on Xbox and the opportunity to have a little fun representing myself digitally, even if it was Alan Wake cosplay. But this new system should be great for developers with the prospect of unlocking avatar items again and having those items be available and representative without any bias.