williampiv writes "For most of the millions of people around the world who regularly use instant messaging, the communications tool has largely been a text-only experience in which typed emoticons offer only minimal clues to someone's state of mind. The recent launch of two services -- a brand new, fully three-dimensional chat-room product known as IMVU, and AOL Instant Messenger's new 3-D SuperBuddy icons -- is putting the spotlight on a major shift by the leading IM providers toward making graphical avatars a fundamental personalization feature."
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