Xbox Recognizes Global Accessibility Awareness Day

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Global Accessibility Awareness Day is an opportunity to continue to recognize our community of players with disabilities, whose partnership and advocacy have helped create an inclusive and thriving global gaming community. There are over 450 million players with disabilities worldwide, and we want to highlight the importance of accessibility so gaming can be enjoyed by as many players as possible across all facets of the Xbox community.  

At the same time, we acknowledge that accessibility is an ongoing journey to which Xbox remains committed. We created Xbox for players around the world as a place to play, to build community, and have fun. Everyone is invited to play, and we strive to bring intentional, inclusive practices and thinking to everything we do. As part of this journey, we are continuously partnering with the disability community to help shape our accessibility products and services, proactively collaborating with nonprofit organizations, and taking the time to listen and learn when we miss the mark.  

Across all of gaming, we are doing important work to make gaming more accessible, welcoming, and inclusive. Whether it’s empowering game developers with tools like the Gaming for Everyone Product Inclusion Framework, unveiling the Xbox Adaptive Controller User Guide Hub for players, providing accessibility support at events such as Xbox Games Showcase, Gamescom, and Xbox Partner Preview or launching new in-game features, the team looks forward to continuing progress.  

Ahead of Global Accessibility Awareness Day, we also want to highlight new updates and accessible features, community support, resources and more.   

This includes: 

  • Providing new updates for those impacted by the unauthorized accessories update on Xbox, including updates to the Xbox Adaptive Controller, and a continued commitment to investing in accessibility-focused hardware, working with accessibility hardware manufacturers to become authorized Designed for Xbox partners, and listening to community feedback. 
  • Announcing the Proteus Controller (available for preorder), a Designed for Xbox video game controller kit featuring innovative ‘snap and play’ parts that easily connect together and allow players the ability to play their favorite Xbox and PC games right out of the box.   
  • Announcing accessibility updates across gaming, including spotlighting some of our games with accessibility features including Candy Crush Soda Saga, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III, and Diablo IV.  

Fostering Inclusive Community

Illustration of the Xbox Ambassador Accessibility Ally digital badge that will display on Xbox profiles. The Badge is a tall hexagon shape with a gradient blue outline, featuring the Game Accessibility logo and the text Xbox Ambassador Accessibility Ally

Gaming is about bringing people together to connect and join shared joyful experiences. To promote awareness and knowledge of accessibility support among all of our players, we’re excited to share the following:  

  • Coming in June: Earn the new Xbox Ambassador Accessibility Ally Badge for your Xbox profile: Want to add a new community badge to your Xbox profile? Beginning in early June, you can earn the Xbox Ambassador Accessibility Ally badge for your Xbox profile by completing quests and knowledge checks to reach a new top level in the Xbox Accessibility Explorer Path on the Xbox Ambassadors website. Since launch in October 2022, the Xbox Ambassadors community has completed over 2.7 million quests to learn more about gaming accessibility and the features available. Become an Xbox Ambassador today and select the “Accessibility” tab on the Quests page to get a head start!  
  • New Xbox Support articles, categorized by disability: Finding accessibility features you need for play just got easier. While many features are commonly used across a multitude of players, Support.Xbox.com has five new articles that detail the accessibility features available for players with specific disabilities, including speech, cognitive, vision, mobility, and hearing.  

Creating Accessible Experiences 

Illustration of the Proteus Controller adaptive kit, including the many ’snap and play’ parts that come with the controller, including buttons, thumbsticks, and triggers.Whether it is hardware or platform features, we are committed to a continual investment that enables play and connection for the millions of players with disabilities.  Below we share some key updates across Xbox.
  • New updates to Xbox Adaptive Controller: The Xbox Adaptive Controller was created to support players with limited mobility in building adaptive gaming setups unique to their needs. Based on community feedback from an update impacting unauthorized accessories on our platform, we are updating the Xbox Adaptive Controller to expand support for more accessories connected via USB port. This update will better support full functionality of some accessibility peripherals. Each port now supports up to 12 buttons, a second stick, and a hat switch. This update will be rolled out to Xbox Insiders over the coming weeks and available publicly via a controller update prompt in the coming months. 
    • Continued investments in accessibility: We appreciate and acknowledge that gaming with a disability is highly individualistic, and the solution for one may not be the solution for all. To that end, in addition to the Xbox Adaptive Controller firmware updates above, Xbox remains committed to: 
    • Continuing to innovate and invest in Xbox’s accessibility offerings –  taking into account feedback from the disability community and non-profit organizations to create products that elevate your gaming experience and cater to diverse needs. We look forward to sharing more updates in the future. 
    • Working with accessibility hardware manufacturers to become authorized Designed for Xbox partners: Recognizing the importance of expanding gaming for people with disabilities, we are accelerating and streamlining the onboarding process for these partners. 
  • Receiving feedback from those in the gaming and disability community who have been impacted by the unauthorized accessories update on our platform: If manufacturers have particular peripherals they’re interested in partnering with Xbox on, or if players with disabilities have specific devices they’d like Xbox to consider, please connect with us by phone or chat via Xbox Support at https://aka.ms/XboxAccessibilitySupport.  
  • Preorder for the Proteus Controller: The Designed for Xbox team has been collaborating closely with our partners at Byowave to develop the Proteus Controller, a modular adaptive kit giving disabled gamers the tools to build their own way to play. The unique modular video game controller kit features innovative ‘snap and play’ parts that easily connect together and comes with everything that gamers need to play their favorite Xbox and PC games right out of the box.  The Proteus controller is available for preorder today at byowave.com
  • Improved Filtering & Sorting in My Games and Apps on console: You can now filter and sort games shown in My Games & Apps on console based on the accessibility or technical features they support. For example, if you want to find which games have narrated game menus, you can filter by Accessibility > Narrated Game menus and find your next game to play. 

Enabling Play with Expanded Accessibility Features 

An updated accessibility menu in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III, detailing new customizable controller settings, including joystick deadzone inputs, adjustable left and right thumb stick and trigger options, and ability to turn controller vibrations on or off.

On our accessibility journey, we know that to achieve our goals of making gaming a place where more players can have fun, we need to continue bringing new accessibility features to our games.  Below is a roundup of games to play with notable accessibility features. 

  • New Accessibility features in Candy Crush Soda Saga: Candy Crush Soda Saga is excited to announce a new accessibility menu that centralizes all accessibility features including audio, visual, and haptic feedback. The new audio accessibility options include bass control, reduction of high frequencies, sound effects, music controls, and mono stereo, with a robust level of customization around bass control and high frequency reduction (currently available for iOS only). Visit the King Community Page to learn more.
  • Accessibility features in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III: This past December, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III launched several accessibility features, including a settings menu update that flags features related to motor, vision, audio and cognitive adjustments with tags to allow filtering and greater customization. The newest feature includes a new accessibility preset called “Low Motor Sprain’ to reduce the physical effort required when playing by reducing the number of button presses or holds being required. Check out more details here.  
  • Accessibility Updates to Diablo IV: In honor of Global Accessibility Awareness Day tomorrow, see how the Diablo development team is working closely with the accessibility community and finding new ways to expand access to gaming for everyone. Video link will be available via the Diablo YouTube Channel on May 16.  

Empowering Game Creators to Include Accessibility in Design & Development  

At Xbox, we believe bringing accessibility into development processes from the very beginning is the best way to include diverse perspectives and make gaming something everyone can enjoy.  To support others in creating more accessible experiences, we are excited to share the following creator and developer resources: 

Blue and green themed abstract line art with an Xbox logo in white with a green background on a computer monitor, a blue rectangle with the letter A in three sizes, a second blue rectangle with two slide adjusters, an icon of a hand signing "I love you" in ASL, and icons for an Xbox controller, and an eye.
  • New Game Accessibility Workshop Toolkit: Inspired by years of accessibility feature innovations, Xbox Research has created a Game Accessibility Workshop Toolkit available for all developers. The toolkit includes instructions and visual assets to help game developers conduct Game Accessibility Workshops on their own. Combining the power of Microsoft Inclusive Design with Xbox’s approach to game accessibility, the toolkit makes it easier for developers to design with accessibility in mind, from the start. The Game Accessibility Workshop Toolkit will be live and available to download on May 16 at 9 am PT via the Microsoft Game Dev Blog.    
  • New Article on Accessibility of Gaming AI Experiences: With the rising use of AI across the gaming industry, our Gaming Accessibility team has put together a brief paper on how developers can think about the applicability of accessibility with gaming AI experiences, along with ideas for accessibility innovation. Learn more at: Accessibility of Gaming AI Experience

Join Team Xbox as we recognize the more than 450 million players with disabilities who are part of building such a great gaming community!

News Article Courtesy Of Joe Skrebels, Xbox Wire Editor-in-Chief »