Microsoft has long been an advocate for accessibility in video games, with features in modern games like Forza Horizon 5 being tailored specifically to cater to a variety of needs, and accessories like the Xbox Adaptive Controller helping to enable a world where gaming is for everyone. Now, it’s doubling down on its commitment to accessibility with a range of new features, guidelines and resources.
The news was shared at the twelfth annual Microsoft Ability Summit, where Sarah Bond, CVP of Game Creator Experience & Ecosystem at Microsoft, spoke about the company’s renewed commitment to creating more accessible gaming.
As part of the showcase, Bond announced several updates to Xbox’s accessibility commitment, including new guidelines and resources for game developers. Going forward, the official Xbox Accessibility Guidelines will include information on mental health, as well as details about motion sickness and text sizing, with the aim being for this information to help developers make more conscious design decisions.
Also available for developers will be a new Gaming Accessibility Resource Hub, which will provide guidance, training, talks, and examples from popular game engines to help creators at all stages of the game creation process. The aim here is to help developers instil accessibility features at the root of their games.
In addition, Xbox has announced a new ‘BuildAbility‘ world in Minecraft: Education Edition, which is designed to educate students about how people with disabilities navigate the world. An array of characters within this dedicated Minecraft world will help teach kids about existing accessibility barriers, and how they can be overcome.
Bond also stated that the Accessibility feature tag on the Microsoft Store, which highlights games with dedicated accessibility features, will be updated so that players can search and filter tags to better find games that are suited to them.
‘Gaming for everyone is our commitment to making Xbox a place where everyone has fun, including the over 400 million players with disabilities,’ Bond said in a Microsoft blog update. ‘This means intentionally focusing on accessibility and including people with disabilities as part of our creation process.’
‘It is imperative that the creators and communities that build games are representative of the full breadth of experiences, disabilities, cultures, and people on this earth.’
To that end, Microsoft is actively working to forge its vision for a world where accessibility barriers can easily be overcome with the power of technology at everyone’s fingertips.