Accessibility is a key issue rarely talked about in the world of gaming. In 2020, we’re still being plagued by aggressively small fonts, a lack of options for colour blind folks and missing subtitles. Video games are getting better though and Xbox has spent the last decade championing accessibility with accessories like the the Xbox Adaptive Controller and robust console settings which improve gameplay for everyone.
The Xbox Series X and Series S are no exception, with each console boasting a range of useful features for easier and more accessible gameplay. Many of these features carry over from the Xbox One X/S but some have been improved between generations, too.
Here are the biggest accessibility options available for Xbox Series X and Series S users. You’ll be able to access these features via the Ease of Access tab in ‘Settings’.
High Contrast: This feature increases contrast between colours on the menu.
Narrator: This feature is a screen reader for every element of the Xbox Series X and Series S UI. It can read text, buttons and other items on the screen and works with both a keyboard or a controller (although a controller is recommended for better accessibility.)
Magnifier: This feature lets you zoom into text to make it bigger as needed. You can set it to follow your controller or set preferred shortcuts.
Controller: In this setting, you can remap the buttons on your controller to better suit your needs. You can also turn controller vibration on or off as needed, or initiate co-pilot settings. This allows you to combine the input of two people to work the controller (although in pre-access, this functionality appeared to be unavailable).
Closed Captioning: The Xbox Series X offers closed captions in default or custom style for all text on the Xbox menu. You can set your own colours, size, transparency and background.
Audio: This combines all audio outputs into one mono output to reduce distraction.Speech-to-text and game transcription: Through the use of a microphone, players are able to navigate the Xbox Series X and Series S menu. They can also have their speech translated into text, with some games (such as Sea of Thieves, Gears 5 and Forza Horizon 4) offering game transcription in-game.
The range of options here is great and builds on Microsoft’s already-established commitment to making gaming more accessible for everyone. If you have unique needs for your personal gaming experience, it’s likely the Xbox Series X and Series S will cater to your gameplay style.
Gaming is for everyone, and it’s great to see Xbox firmly establish accessibility as a core priority going into the next generation.