This week, Minecraft on all Xbox and PlayStation consoles will receive an update. While some of the new features will vary between the two platforms, they will all share one new addition in common: a free set of female “skins” for the game's main character.
The “Alex” skin pack, which launched on the PC version in August and the mobile version in December, will broaden the default options for the game's avatar for all console players on Wednesday. Alex's default style is a mess of red hair tied up in a ponytail that has been drawn in such a way that it appears as pixels on her shoulder. Alex, just like the male “Steve” character before her, comes in eight versions in all, which means Alex also gets a “boxer,” “cyclist,” and even “Scottish” style. (There's one exception: “Tuxedo Steve” is balanced with “Pantsuit Alex.”)
This news follows last week's Temple Run 2 update, which added the series' first free default female character. These changes come after a 12-year-old girl wrote a Washington Post story in March in which she concluded that most popular “endless runner” games on iOS and Android forced users to pay if they wanted to switch from a male character to a female one—and that over half of the games didn't offer female characters at all. As that author concluded, “these biases affect young girls like me. The lack of girl characters implies that girls are not equal to boys and they don’t deserve characters that look like them.”
On Wednesday, PlayStation versions of Minecraft will also get the Simpsons skin pack that launched on Xbox in January, while the Xbox 360 version will be updated with more of the songs that newer-gen versions have already had for some time. (And if you care, there are more 360 achievements as well).