Microsoft is expanding accessibility work with a new program for evaluating Xbox and PC games. Today, the game accessibility team announced that developers can submit their games to be evaluated for accessibility and tested by players with disabilities. The program was announced along with updates to the Xbox Accessibility Guidelines released in early 2020.
“Developers now have the ability to submit Microsoft’s Xbox or PC title and have it analyzed and validated against the recommendations in the XAGs,” says an Xbox blog post published today. Xbox accessibility guidelines include in-depth explanations of inclusive design considerations for developers, and have now been updated to include clearer language, additional context, and implementation examples.
Game test reports include feedback from players with disabilities, as well as links to information on inclusive designs, relevant non-profit organizations and accessibility experts. Any issues found during testing will be “noted with reproduction steps, screenshots and other information to help the developer understand which aspect of a given experience may be challenging for certain players with disabilities,”
Several companies have focused on game availability in recent years – including Microsoft with the Xbox Adaptive Controller – but there are still few high-profile examples as well. The Last of Us del II. A program like this could potentially lead to more games with an equally wide range of accessibility options. It is also important for players with disabilities to be able to provide insight, instead of being unintentional or designed without their input.