Right now the 360 has gamerpics — some free, some unlockable thorough completing Achievements, and some that cost a little something. When the Avatars were made official at E3, they seemed like the perfect opportunity to continue that business model on, and it seems Microsoft is indeed not willing to let go of the extra revenue possibility.
In a recent interview with VentureBeat, Xbox LIVE boss John Schappert said that while they’re currently focusing on launching the Avatars with a big variety of items, microtransactions are a possibility in the future. “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,” Schappert said when asked if Avatars will have microtransactions.
“I think there is a lot more we can do with them. You will see us continue to add experiences that make use of the avatar. Our goal is not to create a sterile environment where you move furniture around. It’s about how can we make our gaming experiences better. That is why you see the first usage of avatars will be in games on the Xbox Live Primetime channel like 1 vs. 100, Scene It? and Uno Rush. What’s nice about the avatars is they can be your gamer persona for your online profile picture or your in-game person. Your avatar can be your in-game person.”
But the question isn’t really “if,” is it? It’s more like “when” — when will we be seeing the first pieces of clothing items that carry a price tag? And that brings the real question — pricing. With a simple 2D gamerpic so much easier to make than let’s say re-creating a 3D armor from Mass Effect that would fit the style of the Avatars, will we see a price increase that would reflect the added time spent on each item?