You know how sometimes people go "away" for the summer, and then when they come back they look ... totally different? Well, Major Nelson's Xbox Live Avatar didn't go anywhere but has seemingly undergone one such full body makeover -- as evidenced by the above comparison between the bobble-headed likeness (via Xbox Avatar Life) we had come to associate with the Xbox Live director of programming and his current Avatar. It would appear that Major's Avatar and perhaps other "VIP" Avatars are the (beta) test subjects in a forthcoming effort to transform the currently cartoonish Avatars into -- to put it candidly -- virtual figures that would look a lot less goofy in a motion-controlled sports game.
Recently, Rare senior programmer Nick Burton told OXM UK that Xbox Live Avatars would be proportionally redesigned to better connect the physical movements of Kinect players to their on-screen Avatars. Presumably, this "Avatar 2.0" update would occur in time for Kinect's November 4 launch and possibly as part of the expected, annual fall update of the Xbox 360 UI. [Update: Check out further details of the Kinect Dashboard update here.]
The new trimmer Avatars are visible in Rare's Kinect Sports screenshots below.
[Thanks, Vanessa and Anthony]