I’m nervous about this avatar silliness. They look ridiculous. And they feel like a calculated attempt to turn a hard-core gamer’s machine into something that’s a lot more soft and cuddly. It’s like trying to sell a muscle car to a little old lady. It just feels wrong.

Anyway, this Develop post provides a bit more information about Microsoft’s Wii-like (and obviously Wii inspired) moves:

At Microsoft’s recent Gamefest event in Seattle, the company’s Xbox Live GM Eric Kilgore detailed ways developers can get on board with the new 360 dashboard, confirming they would be allowed to use the new Mii-like Avatars in-game – but admitted some firm details were still being fleshed out.

The new Xbox 360 dashboard and its new features – which include player Avatars tied to each machine’s player profile – were announced by Microsoft at E3 three weeks ago. During Gamefest, the company was keen to point out the versatility of the new player identities.

“We think it’s really important that these things can scale between in game and out of game, and how we can use them on the web,” said Kilgore of the Avatars, explaining that Microsoft is designing them so they can be seen not just via the Xbox dashboard but also websites, and embedded in forum profiles and Facebook pages the way gamertag information can be.

But most important was how developers can access and use Avatar data, said Kilgore, adding that he envisioned “a category of games to use [Avatars] in different ways”.

Avatars can be incorporated into games as either full 3D models or 2D images - although Microsoft added that it has only just opening ‘the dialogue’ with developers to “understand how it can be integrated with your ideas”.

I think I liked it better when the Xbox 360 was all about being the best and not about appealing to people who really aren’t into games anyway. Maybe it’s just me.