LIGHTS! CAMERA! AVATAR!

World of Warcraft avatarWhat does every video game addict need? A 3-D figure of their favorite game avatar, that’s what.

An avatar in video game talk is a character that stands in for the player. They can be pulled from a selection in the game itself or created anew by the user. The avatar can be a fairly normal looking figure in an online world like Second Life, or a fearsome fantastic warrior in World of Warcraft.

For $129, FigurePrints.com will use a 3-D printing machine to recreate that avatar as an action figure. At first they are concentrating on figures for “World of Warcraft.” This is an MMORPG, which, as you probably already know, stands for “Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game.” FigurePrints is starting with World of Warcraft because the game has more than 11 million players and the avatars always look great. If you go to worldofwarcraft.com you can see many of these avatars displayed in the game’s “Armory.” Awesome.

The finished figure is delivered in full color in a bell jar. The so-called “printing” is done with a machine the size of a photocopier. It squirts layers of plastic in precise amounts to replicate a figure, or any shape, in three dimensions. These solid modeling machines have been in use in industry for a few years but their cost of several hundred thousand dollars each made them too expensive for all but aerospace, auto aWorld of Warcraft avatard defense work. Recently, however, their price has fallen to around $20,000.

These action figures are likely to prove popular with game players, just as they have with players of the board game Dungeons and Dragons. Recent surveys have found that 81 percent of people in the age group 18-29 play video games on a regular basis. Not only is this a lot of people, but it is also the age group most sought by advertisers. This is the group that spends the largest portion of their income on consumer goods. The game playing numbers for all adults are also high, around 50 percent.

Another company entering this personal figure field is Fabjectory.com, which will recreate a three-dimensional figure of your favorite Wii game machine figure, your Second Life avatar or Google SketchUp. These figures did not look as good to us as the ones from FigurePrints.

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