Xbox update will let male avatars wear dresses as clothes go gender-neutral
Microsoft’s Xbox is overhauling its Avatar system to make all clothing gender-neutral.
The games console lets users design and customise a virtual character to represent them on Xbox Live, with custom options to kit them out in different clothes and accessories.
Until now gamers have been forced to pick a virtual gender, restricting the clothing to either ‘boy’ clothes or ‘girl’ clothes.
However, under an update to the system that Microsoft teased at E3, the system is being overhauled to make clothing gender-neutral.
The update was revealed in an Xbox Daily live-stream.
Designer Kathryn Storm explained: “Our new Avatars are built with inclusivity absolutely in mind, with more options and flexibility.
“We want people to feel like we have endless options to really reflect who they are.”
Project manager Bryan Saftler added: “When we think about what we want to design, at the end of the day, Avatars are meant for whatever you want your digital self to represent.
“We don’t want to put you in a box. There’s no more checkboxes.
“No matter what you think you look like, this whole avatar system is designed so that you can represent your best self on Xbox Live.”
Asked about gender-neutral clothing, Kathryn Storm explained: “If you can see it in the store, you can wear it. We’re not holding you to any sort of check-boxes.”
Host Larry Hryb quipped: “That’s one of the new things you’re brining… if I want to wear a dress, well I’m going to wear a dress!”
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The update, which will be released in the autumn, also adds wheelchairs.
Xbox follows in the wake of popular video game life simulator The Sims, which also made the decision to throw out ‘boy’ clothing and ‘girl’ clothing in an update last year.
Sims studio Maxis redesigned their system to make a range of custom gender options available for characters – tweaking their voice, putting them in any available clothing, and even changing the way they walk.
Exec Rachel Franklin explained that under the changes “female Sims can wear sharp men’s suits like Ellen [DeGeneres] and male Sims can wear heels like Prince.”
The Sims update was largely welcomed by the game’s fanbase.
Hopefully, the Xbox update will have a better response from fans than RuneScape’s recent in-game Pride event.