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Apple may add customized digital avatars to iOS Game Center

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Apple has shown interest in allowing users of its Game Center social network for iOS to create custom, cartoon-style avatars to represent themselves in the digital world.

System-wide avatars have become a common part of gaming in recent years, starting with the popularity of the Nintendo Wii and its customizable "Mii" characters. Following in Nintendo's footsteps, Microsoft added cartoon-style avatars to its Xbox 360 interface, while Sony took an approach more grounded in realism for its PlayStation Home social network.

Since 2010, Apple has offered its own Game Center social networking service on iOS devices. Like Microsoft's Xbox Live or Sony's PlayStation Network, it allows users to earn achievement points as they progress in games and compare those scores with friends. Game Center users can also see what their friends are playing and challenge them to an online match.

While Game Center has online matchmaking and achievements comparable to competing gaming social networks, one common feature Apple does not offer is customized avatars. But a pair of patent applications published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office this week suggests that Apple could change that in the future.

The filings, titled "Avatar Editing Environment" and "Personalizing Colors of User Interfaces," were discovered by AppleInsider, and both show and describe an interface in which users could create custom avatar characters in Game Center. The characters depicted in drawings are cartoon style, akin to Nintendo's Mii avatars.

In creating a Game Center avatar, users would start with a blank canvas, choosing basic features like hair, a nose, eyes and a mouth to create a character of their liking. After the initial character has been created, accessories like hats or glasses could be added to the character.



These customizable settings would be manipulated with the multi-touch input capabilities of an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Various features could be rotate or resized in this manner. To simplify the process, Apple noted it could also include options for manual and automatic avatar creations.

These avatars would be part of an animated framework that would be available to applications on the App Store, allowing a person's avatar to potentially appear within games, much like Miis can appear in Wii games, or Xbox Avatars show up in Kinect games.



Once created, a custom avatar would be displayed in a user's Game Center profile along with their other shared personal information, including achievements, scores, playing time, and game library. As with other services, the avatar would come to virtually represent the real-life player.

Apple's proposed invention was originally filed in April of this year. It is credited to Marcel Van Os, Thomas Goossens, Laurent Baumann, Michael Dale Lampell, and Alexandre Carlhian.
post #2 of 16
These guys apparently play way too much Wii and Xbox!
post #3 of 16
Hahaha I like this idea haha but it would be funny if the avatars were all like cartoon apples or something...
post #4 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rokrad View Post

Hahaha I like this idea haha but it would be funny if the avatars were all like cartoon apples or something...

Great for fruit ninja.
post #5 of 16
Apple just keeps innovating.

But I bet everyone copies Apple and will start to include cartoon avatars in gaming now.

</joke>
post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post

Apple just keeps innovating.

But I bet everyone copies Apple and will start to include cartoon avatars in gaming now.


In all fairness, doesnt Xbox have this??
post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple has shown interest in allowing users of its Game Center social network for iOS to create custom, cartoon-style avatars to represent themselves in the digital world. ...

Avatars are traditionally more popular on systems where anonymity is king. An avatar on a system like Apple's where everything is tied to your Apple ID and you have to use your real name and credit card is going to be much less popular.

If you are a big time executive for example (or anyone famous), you are unlikely to want to use that pink elf avatar or basically have much fun with it at all.
post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post

Apple just keeps innovating.

But I bet everyone copies Apple and will start to include cartoon avatars in gaming now.

That's a joke, right?
post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seankill View Post

In all fairness, doesnt Xbox have this??

Yes, for ages. "ConradJoe" was just being facetious I think.
post #10 of 16
Looks like even Apple isn't immune to completely useless gimmicks.


And if the avatars look anything like those pictures, I'll have nightmares

... at night.

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... at night.

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post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Avatars are traditionally more popular on systems where anonymity is king. An avatar on a system like Apple's where everything is tied to your Apple ID and you have to use your real name and credit card is going to be much less popular.

If you are a big time executive for example (or anyone famous), you are unlikely to want to use that pink elf avatar or basically have much fun with it at all.

The Xbox avatar system is (a) optional and (b) doesn't have an elf option. You can dress up as an Imperial Stormtrooper though.
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by benanderson89 View Post

Looks like even Apple isn't immune to completely useless gimmicks.

Useless to you. A very large part of Apple's gaming audience is quite young, and quite enthusiastic about things like this. If Apple releases such a thing it would be optional and you can ignore it as you please. It would probably be a delight to a range of other people, though.

And beyond that, yeah, this has been around in the Wii and XBox for a while now. And it has been around in various other forums long before it was picked up by mainstream consoles.
The true measure of a man is how he treats someone that can do him absolutely no good.
  Samuel Johnson
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The true measure of a man is how he treats someone that can do him absolutely no good.
  Samuel Johnson
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post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post

The Xbox avatar system is (a) optional and (b) doesn't have an elf option. You can dress up as an Imperial Stormtrooper though.

Yeah, I didn't mean to be too critical. Anything is better than nothing of course. It's just that anonymity is an important aspect of online life that's been under attack on all fronts lately.

It's especially important for women for instance in that if people know your gender online in gaming groups and so forth you will get treated completely differently than otherwise. There are also lots of famous folks who just want to blend in and not be noticed.

Even with game centre, if you are the leader of a fortune 500 company, do you want everyone to know that you suck at DoodleJump or that 10 year olds can beat you at Chess?
post #14 of 16
We have front-facing cameras now. Why not have the system take a picture and create a caricature of YOU based on that for your avatar?

Or they could just let me use HK-47 like I always do. That works, too.

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
Reply
post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by StLBluesFan View Post

That's a joke, right?

Right. I'll go edit a smiley into the original post.
post #16 of 16
Is something shooting out of that guys nose?? Yuck!!
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