The Xbox Series X doesn’t just mark the latest Xbox console, it also marks how Microsoft is leading the industry in accessibility options for gamers.
Xbox has made tons of advancements towards improving accessibility in gaming, and this is no better showcased than with Xbox’s showings on Global Accessibility Awareness Day. Earlier this month, Microsoft hosted a live stream in which they outlined some new accessibility features coming to the Xbox. This continues Xbox’s and Microsoft’s trend of being an industry leader when it comes to accessibility in gaming.
Xbox has made strong strides towards improving the issues that have made gaming difficult for some to enjoy. There are some really great new initiatives being put in place by Xbox that a recent live stream and blog post helped outline. However, Microsoft’s attempts to reinforce accessibility in gaming go far beyond just the Xbox system, as they’re providing tons of great resources and tools to fans and developers alike.
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One of the biggest new resources includes a guide for game developers on incorporating accessibility features in their games. This’ll help developers recognize small changes and common problem areas that’ll help gamers enjoy their games regardless of their accessibility needs. These new guides are also helpful since Xbox has updated their guidelines for accessibility in their games, including more assistance when it comes to things like captions and screen narration.
There’s even a new way for people to provide feedback on these new accessibility features and others through the Xbox Accessibility Insider League. Anyone with a disability can provide feedback directly to Xbox engineers and game developers. This creates a great way for the people behind the creation of many of these accessibility features to directly communicate with the gamers they’re designing these features for.
Similarly, Xbox’s customer support page has been reformatted to make finding the accessibility feedback form much easier. In general, there’s been a serious focus on streamlining how Xbox receives feedback on the kinds of accessibility features that they need to focus on. Xbox isn’t the only one in the games industry that has taken a renewed effort to reform accessibility in their games and systems, making sure that gaming continues to be for everyone.
While Microsoft has certainly been leading the industry when it comes to accessibility, it’s important to recognize that plenty more publishers and developers are taking steps forward in this field. Of note are both Ubisoft and Sony, who have both taken a renewed approach towards the issue. These two companies’ steps are important to highlight since it shows how both publishers and developers can approach accessibility.
Ubisoft deserves tons of credit for how they’ve tackled accessibility. Two of their games, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Watch Dogs: Legion, were nominated for the Innovations in Accessibility award at the 2020 Game Awards. Ubisoft has constantly provided a wide selection of accessibility features in their games while also communicating its methods and challenges for continuing to support accessibility.
Sony, one of Microsoft’s long-term competitors, has also taken some serious steps to set the bar for accessibility. The PlayStation 5 includes many features to help gamers with disabilities, including screen narration, voice diction typing and color correction, among many others. Many of the system’s first-party games have also made accessibility a priority, such as Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart.
A lack of accessibility in gaming is something that has hindered many from enjoying video games as much as others. Seeing huge industry rivals such as Sony and Microsoft coming together to tackle accessibility has also inspired other publishers and developers to take steps towards better accessibility features. Between the Game Awards recognizing accessibility and the renewed effort from developers, there are many reasons to be hopeful when it comes to the future of accessibility in gaming.
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