I could have sworn we reported the almost laughable claim of Microsoft's Don Mattrick that he and not Nintendo invented — yes, specifically that word — avatars back with something called 4D Boxing in 1991. Going back through our archives, I can't find it. Doesn't matter, as he is still insistent upon that claim, although his latest repetition of it in Official Xbox Magazine sounds more than a little tongue-in-cheek:
Mattrick: I’m claiming to have invented avatars! I did 4D Sports Boxing! Do you know what 4D Boxing was? Hey, you should be writing this! That was me. Official Xbox Magazine: We know what 4D Sports Boxing was. It was published by Infogrames, wasn’t it? DM: Accolade was the first to publish it, and Infogrames published it in Europe. But write this down! “Don Mattrick invented avatars for the industry.” OXM: Does creating 4D Sports Boxing really count as “inventing avatars”, Don? DM: C’mon! It’s human, it’s in 3D, it has a face… it was genuinely the first time there was something human-shaped in 3D! Look it up!
Pretty sure I know what's going on here. By winking and nodding and making such a ridiculous claim, he's really saying that something as broad as the concept of an avatar really can't be "invented" or considered an experience associated with a single console. Ergo, there is no legitimate criticism of Microsoft doing a typical copycat act, this time of Nintendo's Miis, when the New Xbox Experience goes out Nov. 19. Again, that is my interpretation, not his stated words. But, Al Gore invented the Internet, John McCain invented the Blackberry, and Don Mattrick invented avatars. At last our trinity is complete. Interview: Don Mattrick "Invented Avatars" [Official Xbox Magazine via videogaming247]