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"Minecraft" is the video game that has taken the world by storm. But now the millions of "Minecraft" players from here to Timbuktu are getting an opportunity to rule their virtual world with a new female character, as reported by The Verge.
Usually, everyone plays "Minecraft" as Steve, the blocky dude in a blue shirt. But a new update is shaking things up now that players can use a female avatar named Alex.
"Jolly old Steve doesn't really represent the diversity of our playerbase," explains Owen Hill, from developer Mojang. "For that reason, we're giving all players opportunity to play with an Alex skin instead. She brings thinner arms, redder hair and a ponytail."
Microsoft bought Mojang, the studio behind "Minecraft," last year for $2.5 billion. The game itself was created by Markus Persson, who noted in 2012 that Steve was actually meant to be a genderless character.
"If it wasn't for the fact that the default 'Minecraft' character is referred to as 'Minecraft Guy' and that I once jokingly answered 'Steve?' when asked what his name was, 'Minecraft' would be a game where gender isn't a gameplay element," he said.
Alex will be available as a free update for "players on all consoles" starting on Wednesday. According to Takepart, that means the update is only available to console users on Xbox and PlayStation—iPhone gamers are out of luck.
Still, in an age of gender-driven toys and games, "Minecraft" has created a remarkable level playing field. It's a video game, but more properly categorized as a virtual building toy where players can build environments for their character to live in.
Do you let your child play "Minecraft"? Why or why not?