New Microsoft Program Could Help Devs Make Games More Accessible

New Microsoft Program Could Help Devs Make Games More Accessible
Everyone deserves to feel like Master Chief. (Image: 343 Industries / Microsoft Studios)

Microsoft is starting a new program that will allow developers to send in Xbox and PC games to be evaluated by a team of accessibility experts, the company announced today.

“Where issues are found, they are noted with reproduction steps, screenshots, and other information to help the developer understand what aspect of a given experience may be challenging for certain gamers with disabilities,” Microsoft’s Brannon Zahand explained in an Xbox Wire blog post. Zahand is the company’s senior program manager of gaming accessibility.

This program is part of a larger accessibility campaign Microsoft launched in early 2019 after the release of the Xbox Adaptive Controller the year before. Since then, the company has written and revised a list of best practices known as the Xbox Accessibility Guidelines for developers on its platforms to ensure as many people can play their game as possible.

“Perhaps the most important aspect of the program, however, is the inclusion of gamers with disabilities as part of the testing project,” Zahand wrote. “Every test pass includes members of the Gaming & Disability Community to not only run test cases against games, but to provide their feedback and insights as well.”

Microsoft has been on the forefront of the gaming industry’s recent accessibility movement, and it’s excellent to see the company work so closely with folks who so rarely get a seat at the table.

Comments

  • Here’s hoping they build something they can eventually rope Sony and Nintendo into joining. There’s a lot of simple stuff here like the Accessible Feature Documentation guidelines that should just be a thing no matter where you’re getting your game.

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