updated 02:50 pm EST, Mon December 26, 2011
Xbox Live loses gun avatar add-ons on January 1
Gears of War developer Epic Games warned late this past week that Microsoft was pulling all "gun-like" avatar props from Xbox Live. As of January 1, the Hammerburst, Lancer, and other items wouldn't be available as a matter of policy, Community Manager Will Kinsler said. Any avatars bought before the cutoff would stay afterwards.
Microsoft hasn't explained the reason for the move.
The withdrawals may be an attempt to soften the Xbox's image for customers. With rapid adoption of Kinect, it may believe that the rush of younger gamers would lead to some parents being upset at guns showing up outside of their context. It wouldn't affect gameplay, since Kinect Adventures and others that use avatars in-game don't usually include props.
Neither Nintendo nor Sony have had avatars with props and haven't raised such worries to start with. [via TFTS]