Microsoft Improves Accessibility by Letting Experts Judge Games

Microsoft Improves Accessibility by Letting Experts Judge Games

And tell developers how to make them more friendly to the differently abled.

pocru by pocru on Feb 17, 2021 @ 03:30 AM (Staff Bios)
Microsoft launched an initiative back in 2019 to improve the accessibility of their games, which was good, but it was also following a broader trend in the games industry that was leaning in that direction, which is even better. While some games still manage to screw it up -- looking at you, Cyberpunk 2077 -- most Triple-A games these days have pretty good accessibility options. The Last of Us 2 leaps to mind, which had so many ways to customize your experience, it ensured anyone could play it and feel miserable.

Well, Microsoft has decided to take its accessibility game up a notch, and has just announced a new program that will let developers send their games to a team of accessibility experts who will be able to evaluate a game's accessibility and provide feedback to improve it.

"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... They also wanted to make sure that developers understood the potential impact of a given issue on our gamers. To that end, the reports include additional information such as links to gaming accessibility and inclusive design documentation, non-profits and industry-recognized subject matter experts, platform-specific technical documentation, and more."

What's more, it seems these panels are also home to several differently-abled gamers, who are able to give the game a try in real-time to give their feedback.

I hope developers actually take advantage of this service -- or better, Microsoft forces them to. There's nothing bad that can come from it, after all -- we want to share our hobby with everyone, after all.


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