Unlike Sony, Microsoft Not Planning To Profit On Avatar Clothing Sales

We recently showed you what kind of fashions you can spend about $20 on to make your PlayStation Home avatar look just a little more snazzy. For 49 cents, you too can wear a virtual cowboy hat -- or at least your Home avatar can.

So is this the future? A world of cheap avatar fashion purchases?

Sony seems to believe in it. Microsoft, I've learned, does not.

The day before Home launched I got a (clearly unrelated) briefing from Xbox product manager Aaron Greenberg and I brought up this topic. I asked: When/how/how-often will we see cheap clothing options for our Xbox 360 Avatars available for paid download?

"I don't think there's where you're going to see a tremendous amount of revenue," Greenberg said, phrasing his expression of Microsoft's disinterest in selling Avatar clothing in way that argues there's no profit in such a technique. Recently, Microsoft gave away the first batch of new Avatar clothing for free. They don't think they're leaving money on the table.

The kind of Avatar upgrading that Microsoft is interested in will involve gamers unlocking items for their Avatars through the games they are playing. The tools for this are now in the hands of developers. So when will we experience the first results? "As soon as developers get it done," Greenberg said.

So is 49 cents too much for a cowboy hat? Is paid clothing for avatars not the way to go? Or is it a worthwhile optional offering for a service like Home or Xbox Live?

(It should be noted, of course, that Home and all of the PlayStation Network's services are free. Xbox Live Silver, the service that supports Avatars is free as well. Xbox Live Gold, which is required for multiplayer gaming, costs $50.)

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