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EA and Endemol jump on the virtual avatar bandwagon

Digital avatars are all the rage these days. Avatars have been around for a long time, popping up around the internet in various capacities (notably as Zwinks, et al, on MSN Messenger and, of course, in the seminal reality sim Second Life). Now, Nintendo's Mii system has captivated the masses and it seems that everyone is looking to incorporate some kind of personal representation into their tech endeavors. We saw Sony take a page from Second Life's system as they revealed Home, a system that allows users to create personal avatars that populate a digital world house on the web, and now industry-giant Electronic Arts has announced their own similar system, entitled Virtual Me.苏州美睫美甲

In partnership with the international television production company Endemol, EA has plans for a service entitled Virtual Me that will "bridge" the division between television and gaming. After creating a personal avatar with a character-creation system likely to pull from EA's code banks (see Tiger Woods) that will reportedly offer "astonishingly life-like cyber-clones," you'll be able to thrust your character into a variety of TV-related worlds; EA specifically names the reality show Big Brother. Together with other internet denizens, your avatar will interact and enjoy the experiences equated with the various shows in an online setting, all of which will take place through the Virtual Me homepage

EA International's Executive Vice President Gerhard Florin had this to say about the product:

With Virtual Me we are at the forefront of a new, hybrid form of entertainment that takes gaming beyond the console. Endemol is a great partner to help us bring together the best of TV and video games for an offering that can appeal to mass market audiences and change the face of entertainment

While my first inclination would be to criticize this system, and EA in general, I can actually see this making a lot of money for them if done properly. Advertising for the online experience during episodes of the participating shows could draw in some serious traffic from TV audiences, providing that the entire web application is easy to use and enjoy. From a gaming standpoint, though, this seems like nothing more than a glorified chat engine. Color me confused, yet strangely curious.