According to two patents that Apple filed back in April, Game Center may be getting a digital avatar system soon. The patents, titled “Avatar Editing Environment“ and “Personalizing Colors of User Interfaces,” were published on the 13th of October. If you take a look at the PDF documents in the link, you will see that they show how a cartoon-style avatar can be created with the use of the included tools. One would start with a blank canvas and add shape and character to their avatar with the included noses, hair, eyes, and so on. When finished, the avatar would look like the one to the left. The user could then save it and use it on their Game Center profile. Read on for more coverage.
Once this is done, users can then use the avatar throughout their games, much like third-party clients Crystal and OpenFeint have done for years. The nice part about this patented idea is being able to create a personal custom avatar from scratch. It would make the user feel more involved by using multitouch and other iOS capabilities to create a unique little face for their profile. Since all the images shown in the patent documents are black and white, it’s hard to tell exactly what things would look like, but it can give you a general idea of the possibilities.
Check out the patents above for more information on this upcoming avatar system. Apple could include this feature in an update to iOS 5 sometime in the near future, but it isn’t certain when that date will be.