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Rare talks Avatar 2.0 redesigns

Kinect forces new, more realistic look as makeover planned for its launch

UK developer Rare has confirmed that the Xbox 360 Avatars are to be redesigned, after users reported problems coordinating the original style with Kinect-enabled games.

In a brief comment to the UK edition of The Official Xbox Magazine, senior programmer Nick Burton described the new look as "more realistic" and categorised them as Avatar 2.0.

The resign was initiated because of concerns that the cartoon style proportions made hand-to-eye coordination more difficult when playing Kinect games. This was found not to be a hardware problem, but one of player perception.

The new look is expected to be introduced "around Kinect's launch". The original style of Avatars features prominently within a number of Kinect titles, but it is unclear whether the new style will be represented on packaging for the first wave of games.

Although the Avatars have received some fan criticism for aping the style of Nintendo's Miis, games featuring the personalised avatars have proven extremely popular on the Xbox Live Marketplace - with Avatar clothing and accessories becoming a lucrative source of micro-transactions for publishers.

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David Jenkins