On May 5 and 6, the 12th Microsoft Ability Summit was held online and was a new opportunity for Microsoft to present its innovations in terms of accessibility and inclusivity in video games. As you know, this theme is one of the workhorses of Microsoft and in particular Xbox, which wants to democratize video games to as many people as possible. This is precisely what their latest major innovation will allow.
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Microsoft Adaptive Ecosystem: a revolution for people with disabilities
In recent years, Microsoft has demonstrated its desire to offer new possibilities to people with disabilities whether through work, entertainment or video games. Of the 3 billion people playing games on Earth, 400 million are disabled and cannot always fully enjoy this hobby.
This is why Xbox has offered new possibilities to developers, manufacturers and all players in the field so that the needs of people with disabilities are better taken into account. The Redmond firm is surely one of the behemoths in the industry paying the most attention to these subjects and Microsoft demonstrates this to us once again with the Microsoft Adaptive Ecosystem.
During the last Microsoft Ability Summit, many themes revolving around accessibility were discussed and Sarah Bond notably wrote a long article called “How to make games more accessible” on the Microsoft Game Dev Blog. Among the many advances presented, one of the most concrete is therefore the launch of the Microsoft Adaptive Ecosystem.
Presented in video, this ecosystem brings together three bases: the Microsoft Adaptive Mouse, the Microsoft Adaptive Hub and the Microsoft Adaptive Buttons. This system is completely customizable and configurable according to the needs of the user. It is even possible to 3D print unique pieces if necessary.
This ecosystem will allow a graphic designer to be more efficient by using shortcuts that were not accessible to him or even a player to use all the keys necessary to fully enjoy his favorite game. Each configuration is unique and easily adapts to individual needs.
Accessibility Feature Tags are coming to Xbox
Beyond the Microsoft Adaptive Ecosystem, the Redmond firm has also added a new system to Xbox: accessibility feature tags. The goal is to make it easier for gamers with disabilities to find games that offer one or more of 20 accessibility features such as custom volume controls, no Quick Time events, or subtitle options. .
These criteria and other features are set by gamers, developers, and disabled gamer associations such as the Xbox Accessibility Insiders League with 158,000 members. Players will even be able to search certain games based on specific tags to find the title that exactly matches their needs. This will push development studios to take into account the public who will give their opinion and suggest improvements in order to allow developers to understand the requirements in question.
Once again, Microsoft has the merit of impressing us by offering ever more useful and intelligent innovations in terms of accessibility and openness to players and users with disabilities. Beyond the field of video games, it is a much wider audience that is targeted with the Microsoft Adaptive Ecosystem and it is hoped that the formula will be democratized in many sectors.