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Unique NXE Avatar URLs discovered


An anonymous tipster has informed Xbox 360 Fanboy that Avatars -- the cute, customizable user characters that will launch with the New Xbox Experience -- will each have their own unique URL (which won't open in Firefox or Safari, by the way). The URLs in question lead to PNG files of a users Avatar. The URLs lead to images of at least three sizes, as demonstrated in the image above. The Avatars belong to Microsoft's Trixie and Chris Paladino by the way (we tried plugging in one of our own gamertags and were greeted with nothing but the original Xbox logo). There is a full body image along with two smaller images of user created Avatar Gamerpics. All of them are stored at the site avatar.xboxlive.com, which currently leads to a blank page. Will these images be part of a broader social networking platform? For now, we'll just have to wait until Microsoft decides to share more about the NXE.

Avatars only to be used in family friendly games

As Microsoft figures out their game plan for how they're going to implement Avatars into the Xbox 360 community beginning this Fall, we're receiving a steady trickle of news surrounding their Avatar decisions. Most recently, Microsoft's Eric Kilgore confirmed with Develop that Avatars will only be allowed to be used in ESRB rated E10+ games which are seen as non-violent, family friendly games. So, we won't be seeing Avatars taking over our Gears or GTAIV worlds which, admittedly, is okily okay with us. Kilgore did say that their E10+ Avatar policy could change in the future depending on how things work out, but again, Microsoft's Avatar game plan has yet to be fully fleshed out.

[Thanks, DCB and SS1029]

Source: First images from 360 Avatar creator [update]

Update: Just to be clear, the two images we posted are NOT screenshots from the Fall dashboard but are instead a collection of image thumnbails and artwork that are supposedly used in the Avatar creator. We just created an image "collage" to make for easier viewing.

in the We were just contacted by our super secret source who forwarded us images that are supposedly from the Fall update's 360 Avatar creator. We're told that the images, all viewable in the gallery below, were pulled from the 360 Avatar creator's interface and showcase the icons that'll be used to customize one's Avatar. Icons and artwork are related to changing an Avatar's clothing, skin color, hair style and even height and weight. Now, we can't be sure if these 360 Avatar creator assets are legit or if they were created by a very skilled Photoshopper, so take this Avatar image extravaganza with a grain of salt. But what say you? Do these images look legit and, if so, do they coupled with the leaked Avatar options make you more or less excited with how Microsoft is presenting Avatars to the gaming masses?

Gallery: Avatar Creator Customization


[Thanks, DCB and SS1029]

E308: Dashboard overhaul and Avatars


After our initial reveal of the Xbox 360 avatars, it was still in the realm of rumors. Now, after the Microsoft press conference, we can be sure that they are absolutely real. And they're just a small part of a much larger overhaul to the entire 360 Dashboard. Avatars will integrated into the larger 360 experience via a community "channel", when your friends come online, their avatars will appear in said channel.

Microsoft is also creating a party system via the community channel which will allow for users to chat in large groups, share the media from their hard drives, and more. Demonstrated was the ability to move the party from photos, to videos, to games all while keeping the party of Avatars and players together.

Also unveiled was "Xbox Live Primetime" which allows for Avatars to be used in a mix of game show, video game and traditional TV. Additionally, Microsoft promises to have "real prizes" available through Primetime.

Avatar once posed an achievement challenge

Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Burning Earth, a game that achievement whores know oh too well. The reason being, of course, all 1000 Gamerscore can be achieved in less than five minutes. But that isn't how it always was, oh no friends, you actually had to earn the achievements in a process that took longer than the time it takes to pop a bag of popcorn.

OXM posted photographic proof of old review code from Avatar showcasing some twenty achievements that could only be unlocked by completing levels, performing combos, etc. You know, traditional achievement unlocking stuff. But what happened to these achievements? Nobody is sure, but we don't think anyone really cares. An easy 1000 Gamerscore is the best thing that ever happened to Avatar and its rental sales.

[Thanks, PrivateRyan]

Rumor: "Avatars" are Microsoft's take on Mii's?

Well, well, well, what have we here? Looks like we're finally getting some real evidence that Microsoft really does have some sort of response to Nintendo's Miis on the way. It's been rumored for some time now and the above shot of the linked flash page seems to portend the end of the rumors. Giving the rumor more credibility is that the information contained in the image, supposedly taken from an online survey, conforms to details recently given to Joystiq by a trusted source. These "Xbox Avatars" certainly look to do everything that Miis do and more.

Taking into account that Microsoft doesn't seem too troubled by the rest of the year, this, along with the rumored "Newton" controller, could possibly be what they're betting the farm on.

Hmm ... E3 should sure be interesting this year ...

[Thanks Mighty Healthy]

Shipping this week: horn of plenty edition


Before you ask, yes, we are angry that Joystiq stole our idea for this week's new games post. We're trying to manage our anger though, so we've been screaming into a pillow for the last three hours. Thankfully the Fancast has already been recorded, so our pristine voices remain intact. Anywho, we are faced with yet another week of incredible games. Rock Band is finally here, as is Mass Effect. You can even nab Avatar and snag 1000 gamerscore in minutes. If that's not something to be thankful for, we don't know what is. Behold this week's releases below.
  • Rock Band
  • Mass Effect
  • College Hoops 2K8
  • Avatar: The Burning Earth
  • Final Fantasy XI Online: Wings of the Goddess
  • Final Fantasy XI Online: Vana'diel Collection 08
If you've got the scratch, we suggest that you go forth and rock. Who knows, maybe you can even get your family to join in during Thanksgiving dinner.

[Via Joystiq]

Avatar: 2 minutes + B button = 1000 Gamerscore


If you're in the need for a quick Gamerscore boost, then look no further than the rental shelves and a child friendly game called Avatar The Last Airbender: The Burning Earth (that's one long title). This game is a Gamerscore whore's dream, because you can not only get all 1000 Gamerscore with little effort, but it literally takes less than two minutes to do so. We're serious, just look at the game's pitiful achievements. All you'll have to do is pretty much run into a corner, tap the B button about fifty times and in around two minutes you've got yourself 1000 Gamerscore. The hardest part will be surviving the game's awful cut-scenes, but you're a trained Gamerscore warrior, so we think you'll be fine.

[Via Aeropause]

Shipping this week: big ball o' stuff edition


We're not sure how the hell it happened, but it seems like nary a week has gone by lately without at least one game that we have to buy. This week is no exception, as we finally get to sink our teeth (thumbs?) into Beautiful Katamari. Through some bizarre rending of the spacetime continuum -- portals may have been involved -- we have avoided every previous entry in the series (all 48 of them), so we're looking forward to rolling things up in our giant ball of stuff. Fear not if you're sick of Katamari though, because there are other games available too. Behold "The List."
See? Look at all them games! Anyone plan on picking one of these up? (Come on. We know you're all about some Avatar.)

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On X3F
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