Microsoft and Xbox have made a concentrated effort over the years in increasing accessibility in gaming through a slew of initiatives from settings and in-game design to hardware itself. Recently, Xbox increased these efforts with a rollout of new Xbox Accessibility Guidelines to help aid developers in creation of game features that reduce player barrier. What’s more, Xbox has opened a further initiative in which devs can send their game for analysis and validation against its refreshed guidelines.
Microsoft released the Xbox Accessibility Guidelines V2.0 via a support document on the Microsoft website released on February 16, 2021. The document includes a wealth of refreshed support and guidance on game development that helps to reduce barriers of play and invite players of all capabilities to take part in the game. Included in the guidelines are a library of resources including, but not limited to, text, audio, in-game objects, difficulty, time limits, haptic feedback, photosensitivity, subtitles, and more. What’s more, part of the rollout of these new guidelines includes the opportunity to send a game over to the Xbox team, for which they will analyze it against the new guidelines and supply feedback on the game’s accessibility features.
Xbox has been hard at work on upping accessibility features and hardware in gaming for years now. It worked heavily with disabled gamers in creating and launching the Xbox Adaptive Controller, a monumental device which won Shacknews Best Hardware of 2018. It has since continued to be a major part of initiatives in increasing accessibility awareness and development in gaming. With the new guidelines, it’s looking like Xbox and Microsoft will take an even more hands-on approach in creating and boosting accessibility features and development further.
The increase in focus on accessibility isn’t confined to Xbox and Microsoft by any stretch of the imagination. That said, with such a major group continuing to push the matter with efforts like its new Accessibility Guidelines, they continue to be a force in ensuring that gaming is for everyone.