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It appears some new Xbox Live Avatars are on the way, giving an entire group of gamers who have thus far not been represented a chance to express their individuality.
According to a recent Twitter conversation, Avatars are about to have the option to add a wheelchair across Xbox 360 and Xbox One accounts. Avatars were a big part of the Xbox 360 UI and, thanks to a recent update on the Xbox One, current generation gamers are enjoying these animated mascots now, too.
Avatars offer many customization options but, up to now, they've all had one thing in common: They're standing. It's one of those things that seems so obvious once it's brought up but, until it's brought up, many of us likely didn't even realize there wasn't an option to have your Avatar sit in a wheelchair.
Over on Twitter, it was brought up that a wheelchair option was not included for Avatars, with @SeamusBlackley suggesting a petition be started in order to let Microsoft know the desire existed. Xbox boss Phil Spencer stepped in quickly, though, letting folks know that wheelchairs were already in the works and that a petition would not be needed.
Spencer suggests that wheelchairs for Avatars are planned for the near future and, to further illustrate that fact, @XboxQwik went on to post a "sneak peek" of a couple of Avatars in wheelchairs. As Engadget points out, the Avatars on display in those images boast more detail than the Xbox mascots currently do and suggests this might be a hint that a complete overhaul to Avatars is on the way. Whether or not that's the case remains to be seen but, until we hear more on it, it's at least nice to know that wheelchairs are definitely part of the plan.
We can definitely get behind an Avatar overhaul. The plucky little characters are getting a bit dated, so a fresh coat of paint couldn't hurt. Also, as is being demonstrated with the inclusion of wheelchairs, this might be a good opportunity for the folks at Microsoft to brainstorm other options to allow for better inclusion.
We're not expecting Avatars that allow for every conceivable option, but if there's a group of players who don't feel like they're getting a fair shake in the area of customization, it would be cool to see them given the ability to express themselves more freely.
My only critique would be that the rims and flag on those wheelchairs be made customizable, too. These things aren't race cars and I doubt folks want to be forced to wave the Xbox flag proudly just to be able to display the fact that they use a wheelchair.