Microsoft may do more with Xbox Live Avatars on Xbox One

[/img]Xbox Live Avatars may be an increasingly endangered species, tucked into the back of the Xbox One’s interface rather than displayed proudly on the dashboard, as is the case on Xbox 360, but they aren’t out for the count just yet. Speaking to OXM at Gamescom, Microsoft’s Albert Penello hinted that ideas for additional Avatar functionality are “on the list”.

Designed by Rare, Avatars were introduced to Xbox 360 in 2008 as part of the vaunted New Xbox Experience, which remains the platform’s most significant UI redesign. As Penello reminded us, not everybody took to them. “You know what, it’s funny to have been around for NXE, and the absolute vitriol [that received], and then for [Xbox One] to come around and for people to say ‘"where are our avatars!’” he observed.

That said, Microsoft is happy to give Avatars on Xbox One more prominence if there’s call for it. “It’s on the list of things that we weren’t aware were quite as popular with people, and stuff that we’re looking into doing integration with,” said Penello. “As a matter of fact, I think we are doing some stuff with the avatars, the ability to export your avatar pics and things, so it’s also on the list. We’re aware.”

Currently, it’s possible to take a Gamerpic of your Avatar and use that on your Xbox One profile, but the Xbox 360’s fully animated dashboard models are gone. It’s not clear whether this reflects a technical incompatibility, or is an aesthetic decision - the Xbox One’s tile interface is modelled on the stripped-down, tactile appearance of a smartphone menu.

Out at some point this month, the console’s next system update makes a number of significant changes. The biggest is the restoration of the Friends section to the front end - you’ll be able to tab to it from the Home screen, rather than having to fire up the Friends app. There are also a number of enhancements to the console’s Snap Center, which allows you to quickly affix a secondary app to the side of the screen using a controller.