New Microsoft patent talks cruelly honest avatars

Now this one’s just wild. I want to avoid saying it’s crazy, but it’s very likely that as well. But doubtless, it’s wild. Seems a patent by Microsoft named Avatar Individualized by Physical Characteristic has been revealed to the world, and it’s something all right.

The gist of it revolves around how healthy you as a person in real life are. Basically, your Xbox will keep track of your health level, and a few things will react according to that. Among these things is your avatar. So if you binge on Thanksgiving, liked it so much that you kept eating delicious food and totally lost interest in that tedious running regiment, then it will show not just by the need to use that higher notch on the belt, but in your avatar. What’s worse? No baggy clothes will conceal a larger avatar. Other things can be affected as well. An overall low health level may actually be punished by limitations in play time, ineligibility to enter tournaments, or even possibly getting struck by the might ban hammer.

What on earth are they thinking? From the patent: “Thereby, people are encouraged to exercise. Physiological data that reflect the health and perhaps also mood also improve social interaction in virtual environments. People seeking to meet and become acquainted with particular types of people are not thwarted by the artificiality of avatars.”

How will this be monitored? From the very next sentence: “The physiological data can be gleaned from a third party health data collection repository, a healthcare smart card, a real-time physiological sensor (e.g., blood pressure, heart rate, blood glucose, peak flow, pedometer, etc.)”

Like I said: wild. I see cries of “discrimination” if this one actually flies. It’s a risk among risks if it’s actually imposed on all players against their will. As a choice a gamer can make to try and avert bad habits… maybe it’s not such a bad idea? To me, something like this hinges on that, but since it’s just a patent right now, it’ll be interesting to see if it even goes anywhere.

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