Any time one video game company attempts to capitalize on another company's good idea, there's always a bit of backlash from the fans of the company copied. We can only imagine the kind of retribution Microsoft will soon face from fans of the Wii's Miis and the PS3's Home -- if our sources are accurate, their upcoming "Avatar" service bears a striking resemblance to Sony and Nintendo's pre-existing lookalike creators.

"Avatars", mentioned in an independent survey for Microsoft (as taken by an X3F tipster), will supposedly be used in place of gamer pictures, and will give Xbox Live subscribers an animated, customizable online persona. The meager amount of information provided for the service claims it will be available "this holiday for all Xbox Live connected members", and "this Spring for all new console owners."

This information lines up nicely with details recently relayed to Joystiq by a trusted source, who tells us that a robust "avatar" (source's term) creation service which blends the customization options of Home with the in-game functionality of Miis would comprise a substantial chunk of the 360's fall update. With the breath of E3 hot upon our nape, we're sure to hear something more concrete about this service in the coming month.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.