Xbox making it easier for devs to get accessibility feedback from disabled players

Technology

Xbox is expanding its Microsoft Gaming Accessibility Testing Service (MGATS) to allow for detailed feedback from disabled players.

The service launched back in February 2021 for games to be validated against the Xbox accessibility guidelines and accessibility tags applied. Now, developers can gain feedback from disabled players testing their games.

Microsoft announced this news at today’s Xbox Accessibility Showcase, celebrating the disability community and those making gaming more accessible.

The MGATS programme will focus on a number of key gaming functions, such as golden path, settings, navigation, and in-game communication, covering hearing, vision, speech, mobility, and cognition.

Testers will then provide detailed information on user impact and suggested solutions, allowing developers to improve the accessibility options of their games. This can be done ahead of, or after, launch.

Further, the Xbox Support page has been refreshed with more details on accessibility features for both PC and console.

During the showcase, the developers of As Dusk Falls and the forthcoming Stories of Blossom discussed how they implemented accessibility options. Xbox exclusive Pentiment is also set to have accessibility options to ensure its fonts are easy to read.

“At Xbox, we aspire to empower everyone to play the games they want, with the people they want, anywhere they want,” said Xbox boss Phil Spencer, introducing the showcase.

“An important part of that ambition is making gaming accessible to the over 400 million players with disabilities, including adapting our own games and platforms.

“We also want to empower game creators with accessibility tools and best practices, and build communities where people feel safe, welcome, and represented.”

The showcase was hosted by accessibility advocate and consultant Steve Saylor and filmed inside the Microsoft Inclusive Tech Lab, where its Xbox Adaptive Controller was designed.

For more on the accessibility work by Xbox, check out its latest Xbox Wire post. That includes details of its Xbox Ambassador Accessibility Explorer Path, teaching Xbox Ambassadors about accessibility and best practices.