In an interview with gamesindustry.biz Mark Betteridge, studio manager of Rare, the Viva Pinata and Banjo Kazooie developer, also creators of the Avatars and NXE has said that they plan to own Avatars in the future by creating multiple games and software that support them.
“There’s a lot of interest in avatars by third parties, as you can imagine,” said Betteridge.
“As standalone avatar products, we want to own that space, because we think it’s a huge, huge space going forward – it appeals across genres, across age ranges, demographics, and there’s an enormous opportunity there.”
“I’m not going to name products, because I’m sure you can imagine our time frames, but we see this as the start of avatars, not that it’s now done and dusted and therefore we’re finished with it. It’s more the foot in the door.”
Betteridge also revealed that Rare first thought of the idea of avatars before the launch of the Xbox 360, it was a move to soften the Hardcore reputation that the first Xbox had built up.
“The concept of avatars is something that we came up with about four years ago now. We were thinking about how hardcore and spiky the previous Xbox was, and everybody was of a view that the new one was going to be more smooth and friendly,” he said. “Everybody was in agreement that was the right thing.”
“So we pitched avatars as something out of the box with an interface where you build a character that looks like yourself, or whoever you want it to look like, and can play mini-games and things like that – but it represents you on the Live system, that’s all it was based around.”
If indeed that is the case and avatars have been in development and planning for so long I’d hope we see some more avatar based games soon. It will be interesting to see whether these games turn out to be original ideas or just existing genres that make use of avatars as “playable” characters.