Microsoft’s expressive new avatars may launch on Xbox Live in April

Microsoft is currently testing its brand new Xbox Live avatars before rolling them out to users in April, according to a recent report from The Verge.

First revealed during E3 2017, the new Xbox Live avatars were supposed to be made available to Windows 10 users by the end of that year. Unfortunately, in November it was confirmed they’d be delayed until 2018.

However, The Verge is reporting that sources familiar with Microsoft’s Xbox plans have said that this month Xbox Alpha Insiders will have access to a preview of these new avatars before they roll out to the wider user base in April.

Diversity and inclusivity

With their expressive behavior and extensive customization options, these new avatars are like a cross between Sims and Nintendo Miis. Players will be able to create a character that truly represents them and in the original trailer for the avatars placed great emphasis on diversity.

It’ll be possible to change body type, skin tone, sex, clothing and add items that represent your interests in real life. As you’d expect, all items will be gender neutral and players won’t encounter any restrictions.

Microsoft will apparently integrate the new avatar system into the Xbox dashboard and players will be able to access their characters on the home screen. 

As was the case with Microsoft’s Xbox 360 avatars, The Verge also reports that there will be an Avatar Store launched in May where Xbox Live users will be able to buy additional items to customize their avatar such as clothing and props. 

While these purchasable items will only be created by Microsoft at first, in the future third-party developers will apparently be able to create their own props and clothing and then sell them in the digital store. Given that the avatars are created in the Unity engine, creating new items is a quick and easy process.

Emma Boyle

Emma Boyle is TechRadar’s ex-Gaming Editor, and is now a content developer and freelance journalist. She has written for magazines and websites including T3, Stuff and The Independent. Emma currently works as a Content Developer in Edinburgh.