Microsoft wants your Avatar to actually look like you, judging by a patent application for "Avatar Individualised by Physical Characteristics".

The aim is to eliminate the "artificiality" of Avatars in order to encourage you to do some exercise and also make it easier to tell whether the person you're speaking to looks the way they portray themselves.

The patent application (thanks 1UP) says: "An Avatar generator for a virtual environment reflects a physiological characteristic of the user, injecting a degree of reality into the capabilities or appearance.

"Thereby, many of the incentives of the real world are replicated in a virtual environment.

"Physiological data that reflect a degree of health of the real person can be linked to rewards of capabilities of a gaming Avatar, an amount of time budgeted to play, or a visible indication. Thereby, people are encouraged to exercise. Physiological data that reflect the health and perhaps also mood also improve social interaction in virtual environments.

"People seeking to meet and become acquainted with particular types of people are not thwarted by the artificiality of Avatars," the patent adds.

The data can apparently be "gleaned" from a third-party health repository, a healthcare smart-card or a physiological sensor such as those for blood pressure, heart rate, blood sugar levels and so on, rather than relying on whether you were prepared to spend 240 Microsoft Points on N7 armour, like Tom.

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Robert Purchese

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.

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