Each new gaming generation brings with it a number of much-needed improvements; everything from updated graphics to more muscle under the hood. And now, through the power of modern technology and Windows 10, it looks like Xbox gamers will be getting a much needed boost to the area of…Avatars?
Yep, it looks like Microsoft is looking to give Avatars a makeover, giving players the chance to create and interact with their virtual counterparts in whole new ways. And what ways might we be talking about? Well, we’re not exactly sure at this point, since the folks responsible for creating those new Avatars haven’t necessarily been hired just yet.
The folks over at Dualshockers stumbled upon a recent Microsoft job listing, looking for someone to tackle a couple of key areas. First, they’ll need to “develop, design, modify and optimize graphic and related rendering systems for the Avatar ecosystem.” Those last two words bring back memories of PlayStation Home but, given the fact that Sony will soon be shutting down its semi-popular social gaming experience, I doubt that anything Microsoft has planned is quite so involved.
The second main feature Microsoft is looking for in an applicant is that they will work with other team members in order to implement new features, though what those new features are isn’t even hinted at.
While it is unlikely that anything like Home will pop up on your Xbox One anytime soon, this job listing does give us reason to believe that Avatars will take a more active roles in various bits of the console’s interface. There may even be small gaming experiences designed around the digital figures, or maybe a social network of sorts. Maybe a smaller version of the Second Life experience, where you can move around a virtual room to interact with friends or enjoy random bits of entertainment together. Keep in mind that this is all just me spit-balling at the moment, trying to come up with new (yet not too ambitious) features for the six-year-old Avatars.
So why now? Because of Windows 10, you silly-head. It’s no secret that Microsoft is aiming to provide a more unified experience between its various devices and, with the launch of Windows 10 later this year, it makes sense that Avatars become an integral part of your PC/Tablet/Xbox/Etc. lifestyle. No matter what device you’re using, your Avatar could be right there to represent you in the digital space. Your Mom’s Avatar could message you to let you know that she’ll be home late from work while you’re in the midst of a game of Call of Duty, for instance. Maybe cross-play Avatar-driven light gaming experiences could be shared between the various devices, too.
It’s something we’re already seeing used in various Windows products at the moment, but it looks like the publisher is looking to take the system to a whole new level.