Microsoft executives John Schappert and Don Mattrick have decided that Avatars represent the next step in Xbox LIVE's evolution.
Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto found Microsoft's Avatar creations for Xbox LIVE to be strikingly similar to his company's Miis yet flattering all the same.
Jon Schappert, Microsoft's corporate vice president of Xbox LIVE, enjoys Nintendo's products but didn't aim to copy them.
"It'd be remiss to say that we don't enjoy playing on the other systems and we have a lot of respect for the work that Miyamoto-san and Nintendo do, but I think it's a logical extension of our Gamercard, Gamertag and Achievements," said Schappert.
He continued, "People want to personalize their Gamertag and so when we look to the future and think about building a brand new Xbox experience, Avatars is a logical extension of that innovation. I think it's another avenue of self-expression and there are a lot of opportunities here for consumers."
In combination with the movie distribution deal with Netflix, Schappert says his company's online efforts are meant to attract consumers to the 360 platform.
"Maybe they're still sitting on the sidelines because of content choices," wondered Schappert. "They want different games that are not being offered yet, or maybe they haven't upgraded yet because of price. Hopefully they'll say it's now time to get an Xbox 360 because it's a great, approachable machine."