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Xbox avatars to feature microtransactions after all?

John Schappert's contrasting comments cause confusion over Xbox Live strategy

John Schappert, Microsoft's corporate VP of Live, Software and Services, has caused some confusion over the business model for the forthcoming Xbox Live avatars by saying that microtransactions might happen in the future - despite telling previously something slightly different.

In an interview with Venturebeat's Dean Takahashi, when asked if the avatars would have microtransactions, Schappert responded: "That may be in the future. In the near term, we want to launch these with great customization and a great library of accessories this fall. I think there is a lot more we can do with them."

But speaking to at the same event, Schappert was asked the following question, "Do you have any details on how new items will roll out - will that be microtransactions?"

"No, there won't be any microtransactions for costumes and clothing," he replied. "When we launch it we're going to have a bevy of clothing and accessories, and what we hope to get into is a regular cadence of new avatar items. And what we're going to work on next up after we've wrapped up this new Xbox experience, is how we're going to package up these things so that we can have our publishers and third parties able to deliver add-ons for the avatars - so that's what we hope to have next year."

And pressed on whether it would be free, or require payment, he reiterated: "When we launch this Fall, all of the items certainly will be free on avatars."

Taken together the two questions seem to produce conflicting answers, although it's possible that Schappert was talking literally about the launch of the avatars, rather than potential future business decisions, or may be referring to functionality that might incur costs, such as name-changing. has contacted Microsoft for clarification on the issue.

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