First look at Microsoft's gorgeous new Xbox avatars (exclusive)

If you're in the Xbox Alpha Ring, you'll notice that there's a new "Xbox Avatar Editor" app, that's listed but currently inaccessible. Well, we got a look at the Windows 10 version of the new Avatar Editor interface and some of the editing options. Here's what to expect!

Note that this is a work in progress running on a Windows 10 PC, rather than Xbox One. The app is built using Unity3D and is capable of running across all Universal Windows Platform (UWP) compatible Windows 10 devices.

It's certainly early days for the app, but the new Xbox avatars are unquestionably beautiful, full of detail, vibrant art, and expressive animations. The sheer amount of options and combinations that Microsoft seems to be gunning for is not only incredible in terms of potential volume but also unprecedented in inclusivity and personal expression.

The current version of the Xbox Avatars Editor app is very similar to the existing app but with some Fluent Design translucency. This could change later on, but the basic functionality is there. You will be able to edit and customize your new Xbox avatars in the same way you can today, with some powerful differences.

How are the new Xbox avatars different?

First, you can completely customize the avatars now, with infinite options for colors and specific options for limbs and bodies. If you're pregnant, you can express it. If you have a prosthesis, you can express it. Height and weight options are far more varied and customizable than before, too, and there is no restriction on what colors you can use where. If you want to have bright green skin and role play as an orc, or pale white zombie skin (like me) that's totally in the cards.

The color options aren't only infinite, they're smart. As seen above, they keep your most recently used colors under an "Active Color" tab, allowing you to easily find that specific shade you just used.

Beyond physical customization, the new version of Xbox avatars lets you customize your mood, too. While the previous avatar versions did have some rudimentary emotional expressions, you can now set the tone of your character's body language throughout by changing their mood. I always felt my existing Xbox avatar was way too energetic to really be me.

What if you're really fond of your existing avatar? Not to worry, Microsoft isn't shutting down the existing Xbox 360 avatar system, nor its content. You will still be able to access all of your existing purchases and inventory, using a separate "Xbox Original Avatar" app, which will be available to download later. You can also import the old avatars into the new system for use on Xbox Live, if you want to retain your previously-owned content.

This is just a sneak peek at what Microsoft has planned for avatars as part of the current Xbox Insider Program preview wave, part of the upcoming Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. In our interview with Xbox Platform Corporate Vice President Mike Ybarra on the Xbox Two Podcast, Ybarra teased that Microsoft has plans to make avatars more prominent again, admitting that they're barely present in the current dashboard.

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!