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Microsoft's 'Unleash Your Avatar' service is great for the ego, griefing friends

How much do you heart your XBLA Avatar? Enough to plaster them on your wall? Enough to display them on your mantle? Etch them permanently into your Zune? A new service from Microsoft is giving players the opportunity to bring Avatars into the real world. The best part? It doesn't even have to be their own...

Microsoft has hooked up with promo item manufacturers, Fathead and FingerPrints, to offer ways for gamers to “unleash” their virtual Xbox personas. Options include printing them out as a life-sized Fathead wall graphic, mounting them as FingerPrints figurine or having them emblazoned on the back Microsoft's Zune player.

The priciest of these choices is the Zune etching at $170, followed by the wall sticker at $149 and the figurine at a respectable $60. Personally, that's a good chunk of change to pay for a vanity item. But then, the thought of seeingMattMcRockerFace* in all his leather-studded, shade-wearing 3D glory is also very enticing.

Oddly enough, neither of these services asks XBLA members to verify their identities. All that's required is an avatar nameand/or pictureto proceed. Curious, I asked an onlineFathead rep to explain what would stop me from printing out a life sized sticker of a friend's avatar (for purely innocent reasons, I assure you). After 30-odd minutes of trying to explain why I would ever want todo such a thing, the answer I received was essentially "not much".

Do with this information what you will.

*name altered to protect against griefing


Mar 4, 2011

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