Rumoured for a little while now, it seems Microsoft is readying its response to the Nintendo Wii's "Mii" avatars, and Sony's forthcoming virtual "Home" service by prepping "Xbox Avatars" of its own.

An image has been leaked online that appears to show what such Microsoft-made creations might look like if and when the company does offer the service to Xbox gamers.

Supposedly taken from an online survey, the text from the image reads: "'Avatars' are digital personas available this holiday for all Xbox LIVE connected members and this spring for all new console owners."

"Avatars will be used in place of the gamer picture you have to today and will give you a much more lifelike, animated, and fully customizable persona for you to reflect who you are online."

Gaming site Joystiq backs up the rumour with assertions that a "source" has informed them that this is indeed in the works for Xbox gamers and may well be announced at the forthcoming E3 game show.