The Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360 all let users craft digital representations of themselves via Miis, PS Home Characters and Avatars, and they could even be used in some of the games on each platform. In the case of Xbox, Avatars earned Microsoft a tidy profit over the Xbox 360’s lengthy life cycle, so it comes as little surprise to find the cutesy cartoon people back at it again on Xbox One. Although they’re going to be getting yet another significant upgrade.
Speaking to IGN on Monday, console architect Marc Whitten informed fans that not only would their current-gen avatars be making the leap to next-gen, but that they would also be doing so alongside an expanded feature set.
“Your avatar will be on the system at launch, and in fact, you’ll have some new options, including the ability to do full body HD gamerpics. We’ve moved from 64×64 gamerpics on xbox 360 to full 1080p, they are beautiful, and you are going to see some really cool hero moments, like when you login to see personalized views of your games and other content”
So what exactly will these special heroic moments involve? An animated flourish to accompany sign-ins, game starts or friend alerts? Unique interactions between a purchased theme, and a specific costume item – say Ghostbusters equipped avatars tackling a horror themed background? Both are certainly possible, though the latter suggestion would almost certainly be consigned to elements taken from the same license, in order to better avoid possible copyright infringements.
Further information gleaned from Whitten’s Q & A session includes the Xbox One’s native DVR recording resolution, a decidedly middle-of-the-road — 720p, running at an acceptable, though far from groundbreaking 30 frames per second. Whilst hardly up to snuff when compared to some of the console’s own launch titles, (Forza 5 runs at an impressive 1080p/60fps) it should be remembered that the system is tied in to a much larger, more demanding system architecture than the likes of go-to PC recorder FRAPS.
Whitten also revealed that the DVR function will tie directly into The Cloud, meaning offline gamers may not be given the opportunity to capture, edit and save their highlights for upload at a future date. Interestingly, it also seems that the system will go about creating highlight reels from individual gaming sessions. These clips will then be uploaded to the user’s Xbox Guide, forming a ‘greatest hits’ collection open to both the player and his or her friends list.
Whether individual clips must first be approved before becoming part of this social ‘wall,’ is unknown, as is the Xbox’s definition of what exactly constitutes a ‘highlight moment.’ As any sports game player will tell you, the CPU’s definition of an amazing replay moment won’t always gel with the user’s own expectations. It’s therefore possible that the system will operate in a similar manner to Microsoft’s own achievement lists, with individual studios deciding when and where to set their highlight parameters. It’s not unimaginable, for instance, to expect a Halo title collecting killing spree footage whilst ignoring poorer performances, or Forza 5 steering well clear of a 7th place slowpoke showing.
The Xbox One’s DVR recording feature also promises to make itself known during moments of gameplay, though Whitten chose not to expand upon this concept any further here. Possible applications could include crafting ‘ghost car’ runs of a player’s best times, point tallies and even boss-beating flashbacks.
The Xbox One console is set to debut at some point later this year, priced at $499/£429 in the US & UK markets, respectively. Whilst Microsoft has yet to announce an official release date for the system, retailer Toys “R” Us recently began touting a ‘supplier-provided’ British-only release date of November 29th. Given the usual differences in US & British retail practices, (Friday launches as opposed to Wednesday) this could suggest a mid-week US release date of November 27th. Tellingly, Amazon.com has also begun advertising known Xbox One launch titles, Forza 5 & Ryse for November 27th release. For more on the Xbox One, including the console’s eventual launch date announcement, stay right here on Game Rant.
Excited for the Xbox One’s dashboard & avatar upgrades? What kind of customization features would you like to see in this next-generation of avatars? Will 720p/30fps DVR be enough to capture your gaming exploits? Let us know in the comments below.
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