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Tuesday, 22 December 2009 11:08

Microsoft patents your avatar

Written by Nick Farell

Image

All your online personality belongs to us


Software
giant Microsoft has patented technology to make 360's avatars have same physical appearance as their real-world counterparts. Apparently the idea is that it will promote physical fitness, if you see that your avatar is bit lardy you might want to lose weight.

Xbox Live Avatars, offer a 3D representation of their owners on the online service. Now, Microsoft is contemplating tying real-world health and psychological data to the avatars in an effort to discourage many-a-gamer's sedentary lifestyle.

Microsoft's patent application has the catchy title "Avatar Individualized by Physical Characteristic". The filing shows that Redmond can introduce a heightened degree of reality into the appearance of gamers' avatars by utilizing a third-party health-care data repository or a Wii Vitality Sensor-like device.

To encourage people to improve their physical well-being, Microsoft's filing notes that gamers will be locked out of certain components of a game or a chat room until the proper health parameters are met.

"Physical data that reflects a degree of health of the real person can be linked to rewards of capabilities of a gaming avatar, an amount of time budgeted to play, or a visible indication," the filing reads. "Thereby, people are encouraged to exercise."

"For example, a locally executed video game on a game console or other device capable of interactive play rewards players that have achieved a degree of health or athletic skill in real life, even if played in a solitary fashion," the filing reads. "Alternatively or in addition, the degree of health can unlock additional playing time or can unlock certain aspects of a game, such as additional levels."

Not sure if gamers will put up with Microsoft telling them they are too fat to play. This would be especially true in countries such as the US and UK where some people are so fat that they can attract small moons into their orbit. If it were not for their Xbox they probably would collapse under the weight of their own gravity and become black holes.

Microsoft's patent application might work with its Project Natal, which is an Xbox with camera-based motion-sensing add-on. Redmond has already shown us how the device will scan a person's body and represent it onscreen via physically proportionate silhouette.

Nick Farell

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