Microsoft moves Xbox avatars to Unity engine, adds prosthetics and more

xbox live avatar unity microsoft

In a major overhaul of its Xbox Live avatar system, Microsoft has announced that it has rebuilt everyone’s digital representations in the Unity engine and will be adding new customization features to enable people to be better represented. When the new system is implemented in the fall of this year, we’ll see new options for baby bumps and prosthetic limbs.

Although most people will set and forget their avatars online, over time people do change, especially as we get older (when we gain more — character). Microsoft is looking to reflect that with its avatar overhaul, adding a lot of new customization options. While it has highlighted the rather life-changing additions of pregnancy and prosthesis, a wide variety of new props and customization options are set to be added when the feature goes live later in 2017.

One of the key points being stressed in this announcement too, is that all future additions will be gender neutral. If you want to dress your character up in any clothing options, you’ll be able to do so — it won’t be restricted in any way (via Engadget).

Showcased during Microsoft’s recent Xbox Daily stream at E3 2017, the new avatar features are immediately apparent as the lady who appears alongside the pumping soundtrack not only sports a prosthetic arm, but fancy hair colors and detailed ear piercings. She’s joined by a gorilla person, a lady in a Disney princess-style dress, a lady in a wheelchair, a Skyrim-helmet-wearing guy on a skateboard, and more.

There are outfits, vehicles, accessories, and a range of body types, emotions, and moods, all of which will be customizable by users when the changes come into play. Better yet, they’re all represented in more detail than ever before, thanks to the engine upgrade.

Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb discussed the change with a couple of developers during the stream, and made it clear that the move is about flexibility, options, and diversity. Microsoft is ditching the check boxes and making it so that everyone can make a digital version of themselves however they like.

Although it’s listed on Microsoft’s page and elsewhere as being at the 2:27:00 mark in Microsoft’s Xbox Daily: Live at E3 video, if you want to watch the whole announcement yourself, skip to 1:55:00. It begins shortly after.