Xbox Invests More Into Accessibility, Launching New Updates and Events

Xbox is once again investing quite heavily to support its accessibility initiatives. As part of its annual October celebration of the disability community, the company is launching a number of updates and events.

Outlined via an Xbox Wire post, the company is prioritizing accessibility in games once more. As part of the support of the ‘Gaming & Disability’ community, a wide range of updates are on the horizon. This includes new accessibility features on its consoles.

For instance, players can soon remap controller buttons to almost 90 keyboard keys on the Xbox Adaptive Controller and Xbox Elite Series 2 controller. Ideally, this enables players with limited mobility to use the Xbox Adaptive Controller when playing games that have been designed for keyboard and mouse support. Xbox Insiders are able to test this feature prior to a wider release.

Players can also start pairing a new controller to an Xbox console using an Xbox media remote. Ditial assistance voice commands and an already-paired controller are also being supported as a means to connect a new controller. The company hopes this helps remove the need to players to physically interact with the rather small button on the Xbox console.

Additionally, Xbox is furthering its accessibility support on PC. After launching its ‘Accessibility’ settings menu last spring, the Xbox widgets in Game Bar will offer a ‘Game accessibility’ setting starting on October 19th. Using this, players are able to find accessibility settings more easily. Video and audio-related controls for accessibility will be available as well.

As for software, Xbox will continue supporting its ‘Xbox Game Accessibility Feature Tags‘ which launched in 2021. Providing a phenomenal way for players to find games accessible to their needs, over 20 tags were available at launch, representing accessibility features. The program has since expanded. It now offers hundreds of games with thousands of tags. To compensate, Xbox created an ‘Accessibility in Games’ channel to include all games with accessibility features.

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As far as software is concerned, Xbox spotlights the new Forza Motorsport for its innovations in accessibility. The game, which launched on October 10th, offers one-touch driving, screen narration, text-to-speech and speech-to-text, and more features. Forza Motorsport also incorporates Blind Driving Assists, which better supports players who may have low vision.

Sea of Thieves and Age of Empires are two other games that incorporate new accessibility features. In August, Sea of Thieves introduced a new sound-pinging system for player aim. It’s designed to help when aiming at an AI or enemy using a weapon or cannon. It even includes a lock-on noise when targeting. Age of Empires, on the other hand, has revamped its interface to accommodate consoles. Accessibility features include on-demand tutorials, UI narration, Strong Contrast Mode, and more.

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