Microsoft’s Xbox team also marked this year’s Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) by announcing a number of accessibility updates and initiatives they have recently made to their products in order to make their consoles and video game releases accessible to everyone. These updates include:
Expanded accessibility support pages that allows players to learn about more than 150+ accessibility features, settings, and controls available across PC and console.
New accessibility settings on the Xbox App on PC, including the ability to disable background images and disable animations.These settings are designed to help players reduce visual components that could cause disruption, confusion, or irritation.
A new update on the Microsoft Store on Xbox.com that allows users to filter and search games based on their accessibility needs and preferences, as well as search for games based on their Supported Language, with over 17 supported languages. The improved Xbox.com experience allows users to apply different filters, including 20 accessibility filters like difficulty settings and subtitles, to find their next great game across Console, PC, and Cloud.
This is in addition to updates on how their existing initiatives around accessibility are going:
1 million missions completed in the Xbox Accessibility Ambassador Explorer Path, a gamified way that allows Xbox Ambassadors to learn more about accessibility in gaming as well as try out new gaming accessibility features.
New guidance added to the Microsoft Game Accessibility Testing Service (MGATS) centered around helping developers learn how to add Game Accessibility Feature Tags to their games. The MGATS program was launched in 2021 to help publishers and developers validate the accessibility of their games and receive feedback from players with disabilities. For GAAD, Xbox revealed that players with disabilities have logged over 13,000 hours of testing across the MGATS program, all in an effort to make games more fun and accessible for everyone.
In addition, they have discussed and announced a number of global partnerships with organisations linked to supporting equity for all. These include:
From May to September, Xbox will partner with Korea’s National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) for an art exhibition titled “Game Society,” showcasing contemporary visual art works embodying games’ imagination and realism. One exhibition will highlight game accessibility and will include the installation of the Xbox Adaptive Controller for visitors to use.
Xbox Netherlands is partnering with Paul Van Der Made, a player with a disability, and the HiPerks Foundation to release a new video series showcasing the positive impact the Xbox Adaptive Controller continues to have for players with disabilities. View it via XboxNL’s TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter.
As part of their continued partnership, Xbox and Special Olympics will team up at the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023. In June, Xbox and Humanelektronik will be inviting athletes and Unified partners to the athlete’s lounge in Berlin where they can try out different accessibility features and connect with other participants from around the world through the universal language of play.