Are Customized 3D Avatars the Next Big Thing in Gaming Microtransactions?
If the current pay-to-play gaming model has shown us anything, it’s that players are ready and willing to shell out some serious virtual and physical currency to improve the gaming experience.
From weapons upgrades to unlocking new characters and levels, in-game microtransactions have become accepted as commonplace in the current gaming landscape. So what’s to stop developers and publishers from offering gamers the chance to import lifelike 3D avatars directly into their favorite video games?
Taking a look at the new NBA 2K19 game, which is slated for release on September 20, the developers at Visual Concepts, like many of their industry peers, are banking heavily on in-game purchases for the MyCareer mode, which allows players to build a team and manage a franchise. Gamers can create and customize players and rosters, and even implement AI learning and customized imports in the form of the Player DNA function. But still, none of these solutions approaches anything with the true digital likeness of Possible Reality’s INTARACT avatar creator.
“Avatar integration into existing games is the whole reason I started this company,” explains Possible Reality founder Ryan Isbell. “Our avatar creator, INTARACT, can export fully rigged, life-like avatars in a variety of different formants like FBX, OBJ, and other recognized formats for all 3D creation development tools.”
Improving on the previous player-editing tool, Visual Concepts, along with publisher 2K Sports, offers a decent range of customization, in particular the hair options, which allow for a number of different styles, textures, and lengths. Hair is actually one of the more difficult aspects in character design, so the detail found in NBA 2K19 is remarkable. However, there still exist shortcomings in regards to tattoos, accessories, and likeness, leaving much to the imagination.
Isbell, for one, would like to help big gaming companies improve on these current limitations.
“Possibly Reality and INTARACT give users the ability to create a life-like personal avatar by uploading a single photo of themselves to turn into the main character of the game,” comments Isbell. “We’re focused on creating user-based avatars and innovating technology and resources to enable a more personalized gaming experience. It’s something that the gaming industry still lacks.”
Developing proprietary software that allows for the creation of life-like 3D avatars using a single 2D photo, Possible Reality already envisions a gaming landscape where players are the characters, operating inside native and third-party environments.
A natural fit for the multiplayer virtual-reality medium, the INTARACT avatar creator also perfectly fits the AR model, offering players a third-person view of their personalized avatars inside video games. And since it’s proven that players will spare no expense to improve and customize their gaming experience, why not go all the way and create a lifelike avatar? A feature like this becomes an easy sell within the established microtransaction model.
“As long as it’s not some trick just to get users to spend more money inside a game for the wrong reasons, the microtransaction business model is a good thing for gamers and developers alike,” adds Isbell.
“On the consumer side, our INTARACT avatars would be offered as a game add-on, for a small fee. Use FIFA, for example. EA Sports already has the licensed official uniforms, and if we provide the user with a fast and easy solution to digitize their likeness and place directly them in the FIFA game, what is that worth? Now take that idea and apply that to all video games, current and future … we’re not only creating avatars with true digital likeness, but we’re also creating a new and untapped market.”
Committed to delivering the absolute best in avatar-creation technology, while also working on B2B AR, XR, and facial recognition solutions, Possible reality believes that the INTARACT avatar creator is the perfect complement to sports games from publishers like 2K Sports and EA Sports, along with RPGs and first-person shooter games, creating a comprehensive solution that crosses over from the field to the shooting range.
“With our INTARACT avatars, players can take the gaming experience to a new level,” explains Isbell. “Using the example of NBA 2K19, gamers will no longer be forced to use only use basketball players. And since all INTARACT avatars have a detailed motion capture rig attached to their bodies, we can match any game specs to fit specifications, meaning you can download any type of avatar, whether it be your own or one that was created by another user and uploaded to the server.”
In the end, the INTARACT avatar creator puts more power and choice in the hands of the player, and is has a perfect niche inside the established microtransaction model used by major game developers.
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