Postulate on the Importance of Avatar Visibility

January 30, 2010

All the recent improvements in the ways we as humans interact with the digital (see Project Natal for a good example), and Cameron’s Avatar movie which depicts a direct brain interface control, got me to thinking…how important is it really to see the avatar you control?

Most immersive environments either show your avatar within the environment (3rd person overhead view), or show the environment directly from the avatar’s eye (first person, mouse look view).  Many give you options to change between viewpoints, and some allow you to “disconnect” your viewpoint from the avatar (like a movie depiction of an outer-body experience).  A view of the avatar helps the user control the avatar, making it easier to move & interact.

I postulate that the importance of seeing your own avatar decreases (and seeing others avatars increases) as it becomes easier to make your avatar mimic your own body.  Here’s a simple little infographic I sketched this afternoon to convey my thought:

I would be interested in hearing if others agree or disagree, and their rationale.