Accessibility has been a lagging trend in many industries for far too long now, and the gaming industry has been a high example of this.
However, companies like Microsoft are finally waking up to the many needs of accessibility, introducing peripherals that can help those in need, such as a controller.
This week, they introduced updated guidelines that allows a developer to send their game off to Microsoft to see how the game fares in accessibility.
With that, let's look into what it entails.
The team stated on the Xbox Wire post that they're making it an aim to serve as many as the 46 million in the USA who have disabilities.
They also said that.." Over the past year, developers have expressed enthusiasm for the XAGs, but also asked for additional context and clarification as to how to ensure these guidelines are properly implemented in their games. Additionally, there has been a clear desire for more content that helps a developer understand “where to start,” or “how to focus efforts.” Finally, there have been requests for help understanding the impact that XAGs will have on the gaming experience of players with disabilities."
With that, they're bringing out the specified improvements:
- Improved Language
- Clear Goals
- Improved Overviews
- Scoping Questions
- Key Areas to Target
- Background and Foundational Info
- Implementation Guideline examples
Xbox Accessibility Guidelines
This is a page on their site where it explicitly lists the accessibility features that can be made available for a game.
There's up to eighteen types of guidelines that a developer can follow, such as:
- Object Clarity
- UI Content
Every section is detailed into the implementation and how it can benefit those with specific accessibility barriers.
It's heartening to see the team at Xbox specifically focus on this need. It's something that admittedly should have occurred years ago, but it's great that it's being pushed to the forefront.