In celebration of the disability community all month long and beyond, Xbox revealed new accessibility updates and features coming to the platform. “We are honored to celebrate our remarkable disability community. We join you as part of this community and we have dedicated our careers to the pursuit of making gaming accessible and joyful for all,” Tara Voelker and Daniel Smith, Community Co-Leads for Microsoft Gaming and Disability. “Ultimately, we believe that everyone should be able to experience the joys, connection, creativity and fun of gaming, and it is our job to make that happen,” Anita Mortaloni, Director of Accessibility, Xbox said. “As we shared in the Xbox Accessibility Showcase, we’ll be celebrating accessible gaming and the Gaming & Disability community all month long. To kick things off, we’re excited to share new accessibility updates coming to Xbox. The new accessibility updates include Game Accessibility Feature Tags, a refreshed accessibility spotlight, new accessibility features, and more.
Gaming should be inclusive to all because when everyone plays, we all win.
Join us in celebrating the Disability Community: https://t.co/G7cqertJdt
— Xbox (@Xbox) October 1, 2021
Game accessibility feature tags are coming to the Microsoft Store on Xbox. These tags will display the accessibility features available in each game. The tags are available starting today for members of the Xbox Accessibility Insiders League which will provide feedback. The tags include a list of 20 accessibility features which gamers look for based on extensive user research and discussion with the Gaming & Disability Community, such as Narrated Game Menus, Subtitle options, Input Remapping, Full keyboard support, and Single Stick Gameplay. Game publishers can include links to additional accessibility information for their titles. Each accessibility feature includes a specific set of criteria to ensure there is a consistent bar for quality to help developers. More tags may be added in the future. The game accessibility feature tags will be available on the Xbox website, the Xbox app on PC, and Xbox Game Pass apps in the coming months.
The “Ease of Access” section on the Xbox console menu has been renamed to Accessibility to make it easier to discover the accessibility features and options available and to customize the experience. There is also a new Accessibility spotlight page in the Microsoft Store and on Xbox that highlights games with numerous game accessibility feature tags, has been recognized by the Gaming & Disability community, and/or demonstrates innovative accessibility capabilities. A Quick Settings menu will be added to the Xbox Guide soon. This allows players to quickly access and customize accessibility settings without leaving a game.
New and improved color filters are also coming to Xbox Series X|S later this month. This will enable those with color blindness or color vision deficiency to explore more current games and titles in the Xbox back catalog that were previously colorblind inaccessible. The filters allow players to customize the visual experience and distinguish between colors that may otherwise be difficult. The new feature applies globally to everything on Xbox Series X|S, including all games, movies, apps, menus, etc.
A new Night Mode Display is coming to Xbox consoles. This feature allows gamers to reduce and customize light from the display your Xbox is connected to. The power button on the Xbox controller can be dimmed as well as the light on the Xbox console. Like the new color filters, the Night Mode Display and its customization work across the Xbox system, apps, and games. It will not impact performance, screenshots, or game clips. Gamers worldwide will also be able to set their preferences for Speech-to-Text and Text-to-Speech chat in the Settings menu.
A new feature set on the Xbox Wireless Controller, Xbox Elite Controller Series 2, and the Xbox Adaptive Controller has been updated to include next-gen features such as better cross-device connectivity and reduced latency. These features were previously only available on Xbox Series X|S controllers.
When education, connection, and understanding come together, the gaming community becomes a better place for all.
— Xbox (@Xbox) October 1, 2021
During the Xbox Accessibility Showcase, 343 Industries was featured and they shared some of the new accessibility and customization options coming to Halo Infinite when it launches on December 8, 2021. The goal was to make the newest journey into the Halo universe more accessible to as many gamers as possible. This includes those new to the franchise, as well as those who have struggled to play due to barriers that hadn’t previously been accounted for.
Accessibility and customization features coming to Halo Infinite include the ability to adjust the font size, the background opacity, the option to enable color coding of dialogue per speaker, and the option to have subtitles for all dialogue or just dialogue related to the narrative in a campaign. Players can customize menu and gameplay font size. You can have menu narration with adjustable narration speed for those who use screen readers. Liner Navigation is a new mode that lets users navigate through the UI without having the need to visually see how controls are positioned on-screen to access them. Players can change the colors of friendly and enemy players. Players can adjust the reticle opacity to make it easier to identify information in the HUD. Text-to-speech and speech-to-text options are available. There will be new customizations for players to control their sound experience with different volume sliders for a variety of sounds in the game. Players can change the key bindings for both keyboard and mouse and controller as well as adjust sensitivity and change to taps and toggles instead of holds. There will also be a new Movement Assisted Steering feature that allows for additional controls for steer wheeled vehicles.