I can never seem to find an appropriate category for my posts. We don’t have one for “Games”? I’ll have to make some calls about that.
Anyways, I just signed up for an Xbox Live account last night (finally) and set up my avatar in the New Xbox Experience (NXE). The NXE avatar system is very similar to the Wii’s Miis. You can choose your facial features and clothes, skin color and so on, and then play games with your avatar. There are some detailed articles out there comparing the two systems, like this one by Matt Casamassina of IGN (http://uk.wii.ign.com/articles/932/932455p1.html). Basically you’ll find the NXE avatars to be more realistic and hip, while the Miis are more customizable, but highly stylised caricatures.
Another item that sets the NXE avatars apart is the ability to view your avatar online. I thought this was awesome:
If you have an NXE avatar, go ahead and find your own picture at http://avatar.xboxlive.com/avatar/yourgamertag/avatar-body.png (replacing “yourgamertag” with your gamer tag).The picture even has a transparent background, so you can place your avatar in whatever background you prefer.
You also have access to your gamertag photo. This is great for blog profiles or forum signatures. Microsoft welcomes you to deep link these avatar pics, so whenever you update your avatar, all the pictures will be updated as well. (Find this one at http://avatar.xboxlive.com/avatar/yourgamertag/avatarpic-l.png or http://avatar.xboxlive.com/avatar/yourgamertag/avatarpic-s.png, for large or small versions.)
Microsoft also exposes other Xbox live data like high scores on your favorite games. For example, here’s my gamercard, which is still at zero because I’m apparently terrible at video games:
Personally, I love extensions like this. Suddenly it’s not just your video game avatar, but your online persona. This is just one more way Microsoft is connecting the gaming experience to the web, and I hope to see even more of this type of thing in the future.
By the way, you only need a free Windows Live account and access to an Xbox in order to create one of these avatars, so give it a try!