I can't say I've ever done anything interesting or fun with Nintendo's cartoony depictions of people that are the Miis, but they must be popular or else other major players in the industry wouldn't be hard at work trying to come up with their own spin on the idea. Microsoft is supposedly close to unveiling Avatars, an Xbox 360 version of Nintendo's Miis.
The service will apparently supplant gamer pictures and looks to be coming down the tubes "this holiday for all Xbox Live connected members" and "this Spring for all new console owners."
Fear not, however, as your Avatar won't merely smile and wave from within the dreary prison that is your Gamertag; Avatars will also regularly stretch their legs in "various arcade and retail games" -- just like Miis. Additionally, they'll be privy to "hundreds of clothing options" -- just like... wait, clothing options? Maybe this won't be so bad after all.
I have the sinking feeling that the Avatars will be tied together with my nemesis the micropayment. How much do you think it will cost to dress an Avatar for success? Five decorative shirts for 100 Microsoft Points, maybe? It's easy revenue for Microsoft, sure, but is there really a demand for this sort of thing among the Xbox 360 demographic? As the current generation of game consoles continues to unfold I sometimes find myself wishing that the industry would stop fixating on the whole "lifestyle" experience side of things and just focus on creating stellar games.