Xbox Is Exploring Accessibility Options For Gamers With Epilepsy
As we usher in the next generation of consoles, the debuting hardware of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X currently offers two of the most powerful gaming experiences ever released. With rapid-loading SSD’s, haptic feedback, and Smart Delivery already part of the next-gen lexicon, console technology is unquestionably at its peak of capability and it appears Xbox is aiming to utilize these new resources with the rollout of all-new accessibility options.
Having already made strides in the area with the Xbox Adaptive Controller, Microsoft’s senior gaming accessibility program manager Brannon Zahand recently expressed what the company could have planned for the future in an interview with Game Informer. Zahand iterated how the company is “always exploring” different avenues in pursue in the “accessibility space,” including “hardware, games, the platform itself or [Microsoft’s] services.”
“While we don’t have anything new to announce, personally, I think advances in machine learning and AI will inform how we all think about gaming and game platforms,” he explained. “I can see a future where games adapt to the individual user based on their abilities and preferences to ensure a challenging but enjoyable experience.”
For me, this is what accessibility is all about: making games more inclusive and accessible for everyone, based on their individual wants and needs.”
New measures for accessibility are stated as being brought up “regularly” with other publishers and developers in the form of Xbox Accessibility Guidelines (XAGs), a set of practices “defined in partnership with members of the Gaming & Disability Community” as well as “other industry experts.” These measures are meant to encourage “design ideation” for developers, with one XAG focused on photosensitivity suggesting “avoiding certain display patterns and the use of industry standard tests” to ensure a safe experience for gamers with epilepsy.
“I’ve been working on video game accessibility since 2006 and I’m so proud of how far the team at Xbox has come over the years, but we still have a long way to go to build the inclusive platforms, services, and titles I know we can,” Zahand expressed. “What’s so exciting is that our partners and our competitors seem to be realizing the need for this work as well and it gives us the opportunity to collaborate and compete to drive innovation and value for all of the customers, including those with disabilities.”
What do you think? Are you glad to see Xbox so focused on providing a proper gaming experience for disabled gamers? What kind of features do you hope to see Xbox come up with next? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to follow Don’t Feed the Gamers on Twitter and Facebook to be informed of the latest gaming and entertainment news 24 hours a day! For more headlines recently featured on DFTG, check out these next few news stories:
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Phone-browsing Wikipedia in one hand and clutching his trusty controller in the other, the legendary Eric Hall spreads his wealth of knowledge as a writer for Don't Feed the Gamers. Be sure to catch his "Throwback Thursday" segment for a nostalgic look at trivia from the past.