Joystiq tipsters -- and Xbox.com regulars -- have noticed a strange Beta 2009 icon appearing on some Xbox 360 'Played Games' profiles. While speculation (or hopes and dreams) was that the icon was related to something important, sources tell Joystiq that Microsoft is internally testing Avatar awards. Sorry, no megatons here.
From what we've been told, the test is an executable built for Beta users to play with the awards program before it launches. Avatar awards are triggered by in-game achievements: when a player unlocks an award -- clothing was the only specific award mentioned -- it is made available in the Avatar customization menu of the NXE. Select Xbox 360 users are already sporting fancy new threads, which are presumably related to this beta test.
Avatar awards were one of the many new features coming to the NXE revealed at E3 2009 -- including the