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The Future of Game Accessibility on Xbox

Commissar SFLUFAN

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Microsoft really is to be commended for their apparent commitment to this initiative.



Passion for game accessibility has grown exponentially among developers and gamers alike in the past decade. According to the ESA Foundation, there are nearly 46 million gamers with disabilities in the U.S. alone, so we’re heartened to see that game developers are actively seeking out resources that guide inclusive game design to ensure that their […]




In early 2019, members of the Microsoft Gaming Accessibility team set out on a mission to create the Xbox Accessibility Guidelines (XAGs); a comprehensive set of best practices to support the game industry in driving accessibility efforts forward. The XAGs are intended to be used by designers to generate ideas and as a guiding checklist for validating the accessibility of a game. Leveraging years of accessibility research in the gaming industry as well as close partnerships with industry experts and members of the Gaming & Disability community, the original XAGs were launched in January 2020.


Developers now have the option to send Microsoft their Xbox or PC title and have it analyzed and validated against the recommendations provided in the XAGs. Where issues are found, they are noted with reproduction steps, screenshots, and other information to help the developer understand what aspect of a given experience may be challenging for certain gamers with disabilities.


The Improvements

  • Improved Language: The language used in the XAGs has been improved to ensure that guidelines are clear and easily understood. A focus on removing overly technical terms, or adding additional context to help readers understand terms, was a top priority.
  • Clear “Goal”: Each XAG now has a succinct “goal” statement. Readers can more easily find XAGs relevant to their current work by quickly reading through goal statements.
  • Improved Overview: To ensure that developers understand the importance of each XAG guideline, improved overview sections now provide key contextual information including a summary of the impact a XAG can have on gamers with disabilities as well as those facing situational impairments.
  • Scoping Questions: High level questions ask developers to identify whether certain elements are present in their game. This yes/no determination can help developers more easily identify which XAGs are key priorities to be focused on first.


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