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
Managing Editor

Jez Corden is the Managing Editor for 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 caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

35 Comments
  • UWP......so mobile included? Particularly concerned about that.
  • UWP does not necessarily mean it will be available for Mobile.
  • Yes Zac, I get that..and that kinda prompted me to ask that question in the first place. I know it isn't a mobile topic but current state makes me ask if any official app would be coming our way....ever again.....from Microsoft.
  • I asked my source to squish the window and it does look like it has been designed for smaller screens in mind. We'll just have to wait and see. But really, expecting support for Windows 10 Mobile at this point is a waste of time :(
  • Exactly.... It will come to mobile alright. Windows Mobile, I wouldn't bet on it.
  • Microsoft says they will backport upcoming UWP APIs to Windows 10 mobile, so if this app is supported by future mobile devices it should also be available for W10m even if it uses new APIs. The question is if it's going to be available to mobile at all. Personally I don't see why I'd want it, because I don't see me using it. But I have not changed my avatar in years either so...
  • A sensible comment and a wise approach but we all know Microsoft, are they wise enough to adopt that considering the feature retractions now?
  • So not W10M but will be coming to Android and ios....sigh! Secondly if Microsoft is supporting with builds why won't they support with their own apps?, don't understand.
  • Support doesn't necessarily mean new features and apps. Win 10 mobile is now only support in terms of bug fixes and security updates. Then after MS finishes internally, whatever they have brewing for small screens, those new devices will likely be on par with the desktop in terms of features and apps. Just hoping it's before fall 2018 personally.
  • How come that you didn't ask them the mos obvious question and that being how are they implementing Avatars into the dashboard? If it's simply going to remain as an app burried somewhere deep into the system with no functional elements then it's completely pointless.
  • Really what does it mean
  • Spot on! If a Universal Windows Platform app doesn't work on W10M, atleast to me, it isn't a UWP app. No offense to Zac though, he's very down to earth in the MS world😀
  • Lol don't take on Zac, your account will be suspended for two weeks.
  • I get what you're saying but it doesn't make a lot of sense to say 2+2=4, but to me 2+2=5 so I don't agree with them. Microsoft made the concept of UWP and defined it, you can't really argue that their definition doesn't fit your definition.
  • uwp: win10/win10.arm, win10.xbox, win10.phone, win10.iot, AR/MR.
    They are all different in some ways. ps: MS should've get rid of win10.phone cause most dev are busy enuf with Android and iPhone already (no one has times and man power to QA win10m). Should've just let win10m runs what win10.pc runs (and I think that's what win10.arm are for)
  • It was conceived with that purpose so we were supposed to get on mobile all those apps. Microsoft made me waste my time with their XAML bullsh** just to prevent us from using those apps on mobile. They block their own apps so their users don't use them (LinkedIn on W10 M) while they do work on their apps for the competition. Developers got the wrong message when even Microsoft stopped giving priority to their own OS and started working harder on IOS and Android. I still have my Lumia 950 and I think it is a great device but I can't help thinking that Microsoft could have adone a great job if they reallyt listened to their users.
  • W10M is dead. When will you guys stop asking about every app that comes out on Xbox or Windows? Give it a rest.
  • I've just updated my Goal Centre app to UWP as it was still an old WP7.1 app!  Although it's now available on W10M, Desktop and Xbox One, 85% of downloads over the past week were still the old version on WP8.1
  • Thank you for updating the app and supporting UWP!
  • Thanks for the UWP support.
  • Looks the same to me, but with more customization. Wonder how this will be interpreted in games like "World of Keflings", where your avatar is your character.
  • Exact, but those models require more polygons.
  • Xbox 360 games will use your old avatar, as far as I can glean from the article. You will have two different avatars, just as you have two different gamerpics.
  • Sweet, I hope the import feature means I can keep my Deathstroke Skin.  Or maybe an upgraded version?? That would be cool.  Glad to see them focusing on this again, and I hope it makes it into the friends listing, it was always fun to see what people did with it on 360
  • I use mine wherever I sign in to Microsoft. But it would be nice to customize it even more. I'm looking forward to it.
  • I look forward to it.
  • Any word if these are for AR/VR developers, or are they not being used in games?
  • So in what games can we expect to use them? Because overall they've been quite useless.
  • CASTLE MINER Z 2 PLS
  • Lol
  • Will they still keep a suggested list of skin tone colors? I am red/green colorblind, and biologically cannot accurately select a skin tone from a HSV color wheel like what is presented in the image. I can do a bit better with RGB values, but I still need numbers or text to help me make my dscision, not an ambiguous color wheel. A list of common skin tone colors (bonus points if with text descriptionm of each color) is a necessary feature for me.
  • There's a suggested list, but you can also choose any color you want. There's no text description, but I will forward this to someone at Microsoft as a suggestion.
  • Thanks!
  • i want to use my avatar as a game.  perhaps an SSBM style for xbox gamers.  
  • Gosh. I wish to have a time for Xbox.