Xbox One Update – CONFIRMED
Microsoft has confirmed when we’ll see the new Xbox One avatars roll out.
Microsoft is planning to launch its new Xbox Live Avatars next month, according to a report from The Verge.
Xbox has apparently told 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 (as you can see from the company’s Mike Ybarra avatar, featured below), and Xbox Alpha testers will get access ahead of a global rollout in April.
Apparently, Microsoft will also open an avatar store in May, where users can exchange real-life currency for customisation options for their characters.
The Verge reports that Microsoft will be allowing third-parties to design and add props, clothes and items to the store, but Microsoft has yet to clarify that.
It looks like Microsoft could be about to finally roll out its updated Xbox One avatar suite.
According to The Verge’s senior editor Tom Warren, it looks like Microsoft will soon deploy the long-teased custom avatars.
The Pixar-like characters offer a massive overhaul from the charming, but simple, avatars Microsoft first introduced with the Xbox 360.
The characters have clearly come a long way from their 2008 originals, now featuring a much more diverse set of models and options for gamers to choose from when creating them.
The new avatars will let you fully customize your online character with new body type options, clothing, and props.
The new avatars were first shown off at E3 2017, and we’ve been waiting to hear more about them ever since.
Warren’s tweet seems to feature Mike Ybarra – a senior Xbox staffer – as an avatar, suggesting we’re going to see a broader roll-out soon.
Expect to hear more news from Microsoft in the coming days.
Features like the avatar system compliment Microsoft’s plans to fight back against rival PlayStation’s dominance this generation.
The Microsoft firm has recently promoted talented Matt Booty, who helped make Lego-like builder game Minecraft a worldbeater, to corporate vice president of Microsoft Studios.
He will oversee all in-house games being developed and ensure the firm’s various developers are working together, sharing successes and helping each other to create an army of great new games.
And Xbox vowed to flood its Xbox One console with a raft of new content to take on Sony’s top-selling rival.
The company was criticised last year for its lack of exclusive titles.
It’s limited offerings, including strategy title Halo Wars 2, failed to make as much impact as Sony’s big hitters like robot dinosaurs epic Horizon Zero Dawn, the new single-player Uncharted campaign The Lost Legacy and driving game Gran Turismo Sport.
The most hyped Xbox One games of last year, Crackdown 3 and Sea of Thieves, were both delayed and pushed back to 2018.
As a result, physical game disc sales were up on the PS4 in 2017 by 6.6% on the previous year, according to industry experts at Chart-Track. But for the Xbox One machines sales were down 11.1% over the same period.
So Microsoft is now fast-tracking a raft of new game ideas that they hope will lead to a swathe of first-party must-have titles to help boost the Xbox gaming brand.
Xbox boss Phil Spencer said: “It’s become very clear to me that we’re going to invest more in content, which we are doing, and that a unified studios leadership organisation was going to be critical to our long-term success.”
Booty’s promotion follows on from Spencer’s own recent upgrade to the senior management team at Microsoft, as executive vice president with responsibility for the overall strategy across gaming and gaming hardware.
In his new role Booty will take charge of the budgets and outputs of 343 Industries, The Coalition, Mojang, Rare, Turn 10 Studios, and Global Publishing.
He said: “I really look at it first and foremost as an opportunity to serve and provide a leadership layer to the studio heads, so they can focus even more on making great games.
“I’ve worked as a peer with Bonnie [Ross] and Shannon [Loftis] and Rod [Ferguson] and Craig [Duncan], and obviously very closely with Helen as the No. 2 person on the Minecraft franchise in Redmond.
“It’s a group I have a huge amount of respect for. It’s a world-class group of leaders and a world-class collection of studios. It’s a privilege to get in and help provide a layer of unification and collaboration across the studios, as we go forward helping drive the initiatives Phil talked about, getting behind the company’s vision for gaming.”