May 20 is Global Accessibility Awareness Day, which raises awareness for the millions around the world with physical or mental disabilities. Accessibility is a huge topic in gaming, as it's a key part of making sure the awesome experiences are enjoyable for everyone. One company that’s been at the forefront of Accessibility in gaming for years is Microsoft, as it’s made strides to make the Xbox platform as inclusive as possible. To celebrate GAAD, Microsoft has reflected on the progress so far and is looking at what’s to come in the future.
Microsoft made a post to Xbox Wire in celebration of Global Accessibility Awareness Day on May 20, 2021. Here, the company speaks to the importance of accessibility in gaming. “Accessibility options enable more people to play, and with an estimated over 400 million gamers with disabilities on the planet, we are committed to unlocking the potential for everyone to experience the joys and benefits of gaming.”
Xbox recounts what it has done so far to make gaming more accessible. This includes the newly announced Xbox Accessibility Insiders League. Any gamer that identifies as someone with a disability can join the program and use it to directly give feedback to developers and Microsoft’s Xbox teams as to how they can further improve accessibility.
Microsoft also reveals that some big accessibility changes are coming to Minecraft. The Caves and Cliffs update, which is the next major content update slated for the sandbox game, will introduce copper, a new ore, among many other things. Besides the color of the ore specks, the blocks themselves are hard to distinguish, particularly for those who have a disability that impacts how they perceive color. Ore blocks will be getting a redesign that makes them easier to differentiate.
There are a slew of accessibility changes detailed in Microsoft’s Xbox Wire post, including new options coming to Gears 5. Other companies in the industry have also taken GAAD to spotlight accessibility features in their games. Insomniac shared details about the accessibility options that will be available in Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart when it launches next month.