Xbox 360 introduced its new user interface in 2008 and a key component to the launch was the concept of Avatars. Much like Miis on the Nintendo Wii, these cute cartoonish representations of people have helped make the console more approachable to non-traditional gamers.
Avatars have been met with mixed reactions from core gamers, but have been very successful at changing the perception of the platform to a more family friendly audience.
From a direct marketing perspective, Xbox Live has leveraged these assets to take email personalization to another level.
If you have opted into online marketing, your updates aren't only addressed to you but also display your Avatar front and centre. This quickly grabs your attention in an otherwise cluttered inbox and increases the chances of engagement with the email.
The simple inclusion of this graphical element creates an immediate connection with the user, something that a personalized salutation might not achieve on its own.