At Xbox, we’re proud of the work we’ve done to make gaming more accessible for the estimated more than 400 million gamers with disabilities across the globe. I have learned a lot from the Pandemic over the past two years. This has reinforced my belief in the power of gaming to create and maintain connections.
Our accessibility journey has taught us that gaming should be accessible to everyone. We need to invent and add new features and accessibility options to our games and platform. It’s about meeting our players where they are and empowering them to play in the way that is right for them, because we know how people play can change during their life or even over the course of the day.
We believe everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy the fun, connection and creativity of gaming. It is our responsibility to ensure that this happens. As we shared in the Xbox Accessibility Showcase, we’ll be celebrating accessible gaming and the Gaming & Disability community all month long. To kick things off, we’re excited to share new accessibility updates coming to Xbox.
Microsoft Store Xbox – New game accessibility feature tags
For years, the number one question we receive from the Gaming & Disability community is “how do I know which games I can play?” It’s an important question because it can be difficult for gamers to know before they purchase a game if it has the accessibility features they need.
This announcement is made to help gamers. Game accessibility feature tags are also known as accessibility metadata tags. They will be available on the Microsoft Store for Xbox. It will provide information about the accessibility features of each game to enable them to make educated decisions prior to purchasing or downloading.
Starting today, members of the Xbox Accessibility Insiders League are able to access the tag with their game accessibility features. We will use this feedback to improve our service and make the experience more accessible for everyone. The tags will include a list of 20 accessibility features which gamers commonly look for based on extensive user research and discussion with our Gaming & Disability Community, such as Narrated Game Menus, Subtitle options, Input Remapping, Full keyboard support, and Single Stick Gameplay. Publishers will be able add links to accessibility information to their titles.
Each accessibility feature must be consistent in quality. This is why developers include a set of criteria for each one. For example, many gamers dislike games that have subtitles that are too small. Not only do we require subtitles to meet a specific font size to check our “Subtitle options” feature tag, but we also require that subtitles can be resized by up to 200 percent.
There are many accessibility features we would love to see added on to games, and these features go beyond the 20 listed. In the future, we hope to add more tags, while ensuring we don’t add so many tags that it becomes confusing. In the next few months, game accessibility feature tags for Xbox.com will be made available via the Xbox app on Windows and Xbox Game Pass apps.
If you would like to provide feedback, please join XAIL through the Xbox Insiders Hub app to visit the new “Accessibility Spotlight” store pages and let us know about your experience by filling out two short XAIL quests. We’re hoping to get as much feedback as possible, so please consider joining XAIL if you’re not a member already. Both allies and members of the Gaming & Disability community are welcome!
343 Industries offers a glimpse at Accessibility Features in the Works Halo Infinite
Paige Johnson from 343 Industries was present at the Xbox Accessibility Showcase and walked through accessible and custom features. Halo InfiniteIt will be available for purchase starting on December 8, 2021. 343 Industries’ goal is to make the newest journey into the Halo universe more accessible to as many gamers as possible. That includes those who are brand-new to the Halo franchise, as well as those who struggled to play due to barriers that hadn’t previously been accounted for. The core of the Halo franchise is inclusion. Halo InfiniteThe team recognized the importance of personalization and created new features that allow people to tailor their experience. Halo Infinite The gameplay experience. These features include:
- To Subtitles
- Set the background transparency
- Allow color-coding for dialogue by each speaker
- Choose whether you’d like subtitles for all dialogue or just dialogue related to the narrative in Campaign
- You can customize the font size of your menu or gameplay
- For those who use screen readers, menu narration can be adjusted to adjust the speed of narration
- A new mode called “Linear Navigation” that lets users navigate through the UI without the need to visually see how controls are positioned on-screen to access them
- To make it more than blue versus red, you can change the colors of your friend and foe.
- To make the HUD easier to read, there are more UI settings like HUD (Heads Up Display) and Reticule Opacity.
- For players who wish to join Voice Chat, there are text-to-speech or speech-totext choices. Players can either send synthesized vocals to receive synthesized text.
- Players can now customize their sound experience using different volume sliders that allow them to choose from a wide range of sounds within the game.
- You can customize the controller, keyboard, and mouse to change taps, toggles, holds, and rebind keystrokes.
- A new Movement Assisted Steering feature, which lets you use additional controls to help steer wheeled vehicles rather than just the classic “look-to-steer” mechanic
Gaming representation matters. To improve representation Halo Infinite343 Industries collaborated with Warfighter Engaged, to create new prosthetic options that allow gamers to customise their Spartans.
Accessibility is an ongoing journey. 343 Industries will keep updating Halo Infinite So that as many people can fight side by side with the Master Chief as possible.
Refreshed Accessibility Spotlight & New Accessibility Features
We are also happy to announce we’ve renamed the “Ease of Access” section on the console menu to “Accessibility,” to make it even easier to discover the accessibility features available on your console and to customize your experience. In addition, a new Accessibility spotlight page in the Microsoft Store on Xbox will highlight games that have numerous game accessibility feature tags, have been recognized by the Gaming & Disability community, and/or demonstrate innovative accessibility capabilities. The page allows you to search titles by audio and visual feature categories. You will also be able filter your search on the Microsoft Store by any of these features in the future to help you find the perfect game.
We’re also announcing new accessibility features that will launch on Xbox soon:
- You can do it quicklyThe Quick Settings menu has been added to the Xbox Guide to make it easier to access your accessibility settings and modify them quickly. You can toggle accessibility features quickly without having to leave your app or game. It’s also a big benefit for families or if you share a console with others who have different accessibility needs: use quick settings to RapidlyYou can toggle between the different features depending on which person is using it. For a personalized experience, everyone in the family has the ability to easily change the settings.
- Color Filters: To enable people with colorblindness, or color vision impairments to play more Xbox Series X|S to enable those with colorblindness or color vision deficiency to explore more current games as well as titles in the Xbox back catalogue that were previously colorblind inaccessible. Future games will be made more accessible to colorblind gamers by using this feature.
You can adjust the color experience with filters and differentiate between different colors. It is possible to change the color appearances of green and red tones to make it easier for people with red-green blindness to distinguish them. This can help gamers quickly identify game elements that may otherwise appear similar to each other or blend in with the background. S for all Xbox games and movies, can be applied to any game, movie, app, menu, or other content.|S, including all games, movies, apps, menus, etc. The filters are also compatible with multiple types of color blindness. You can change the filter to your liking without having any effect on performance, screenshots or video clips.
- Night Mode Display Another system-wide update coming to Xbox consoles is a suite of settings that adjusts light sources to help you get a better night’s sleep and support gamers with light sensitivity. Night Mode allows you to dim the light coming from your Xbox’s display, like your TV. You can dim the power button on your controller, as well as the power light on the console – if you’re a movie fan, you can now enjoy theater-like total darkness while watching your favorite films! S adds a blue filter to your display that can be customized.|S also adds a customizable blue light filter for your display.
These customizations work across Xbox, games, apps, or Xbox systems and do not affect game performance, screenshots, or video clips. These settings can either be programmed to switch automatically between sunrise and sunset or you can choose a time that suits your needs. The console can be set to switch dynamically between Dark and Light themes and follows the Night Mode program.
- Globalization Speech to Text/Text-to Speech Chat: Global gamers have recently been able to choose their preferred Game Transcription preference. In the coming weeks, gamers worldwide will also be able to set their preferences for Speech-to-Text and Text-to-Speech chat in Settings under “Accessibility -> Game and Chat Transcription.”
The Gaming Accessibility Fundamentals Course is Free for Developers
We’re thrilled to offer a new and free course on MSLearn for anyone interested in learning more about gaming accessibility and wanting to build and “prove out” your knowledge of game accessibility. This course is for gamers who wish to get a better understanding of game accessibility. This course covers core gaming concepts as well as tips and tricks for working together with the Disability Community in order to create accessible design. It also includes best practices and guidelines regarding game titles, gaming platforms and hardware. This series aims to broaden the understanding of what “game accessibility” is. Additionally, it is intended to establish foundational knowledge to bridge the disability divide and increase the number of people coming into the field by providing ways to ‘validate’ your accessibility knowledge. On the MS Learn website, Gaming Accessibility Fundamental will be available in October. Check out aka.ms/GameAccessiblityFundamentals for more details!
Xbox Controllers get new features
Lastly, we’ve updated the feature set on the Xbox Wireless Controller, Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 and the Xbox Adaptive Controller to include next-gen features including better cross-device connectivity and reduced latency. S Controllers.|S controllers. Our controllers will be updated regularly to make sure you play the right way for you.
Continue the celebrations of the Disability Communities
Gaming should be a fun place for everyone to enjoy. We must offer choice, customization and put players first in everything that we do. The Gaming & Disability community is an important part of our global gaming community and we promise to continue to partner with you to make your gaming experiences better by building out even more accessibility features and making it easier for others to include accessibility in their games. We believe inclusive, accessible gaming is the core of all we do.
For more information on how we will celebrate the Gaming & Disability community all month long, visit this page.
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