Several weeks ago, Microsoft released the Xbox Series X and Series S, which are the company’s next-generation consoles. For quite some time now, Xbox and its parent company Microsoft have been leading the video game industry to provide better accessibility in its gaming peripherals. Now, Microsoft has revealed that it will continue to strive on this philosophy as console gaming transitions to the next generation.
In an interview with Game Informer, Microsoft’s Brannon Zahand, who is the senior gaming accessibility program manager at the company, stated that there are still more areas “previously ignored in the gaming space regarding accessibility.” Zahand reiterated that Microsoft and Xbox are currently exploring new ways to innovate accessibility in console gaming, whether it via hardware, games, or any of its services.
Although Microsoft has nothing new to announce today, Zahand confirmed that he sees a future where technological advances in AI and machine learning will open the door where games would adapt to players’ individual preferences and capabilities, which ensures that they get the best experience possible outside of gameplay. “For me, this is what accessibility is all about: making games more inclusive and accessible for everyone, based on their individual wants and needs.”
It is worth remembering that back in 2018, Microsoft released the Xbox One Adaptive Controller, which was created for more accessibility. Although the traditional Xbox controller’s design scheme is widely beloved by fans, Microsoft admits that it doesn’t offer much for players with limited mobility, which is why the company created the Xbox One Adaptive Controller. Apart from its innovative design, the Xbox Adaptive Controller’s settings can be changed from game to game to fit each player’s individual preferences. Even the controller’s packaging was also designed with accessibility in mind.
At the moment, Microsoft is in constant communication with its fanbase regarding areas that need further improvement. In the interview, Zahand revealed personal details about his experience with epileptic seizures following his return from his second military deployment, where he suffered a brain injury. When asked what Microsoft plans to do to help gamers with accessibility further, Zahand said that the Xbox User Research team is doing a fantastic job in getting feedback from customers, which will allow them to develop even more accessible peripherals, especially now that the Xbox Series X and Series S have been released. In the end, Zahand stated that “The industry can always do more, and there’s a lot of work to be done – it’s a journey, and this is just the beginning, for all of us.”
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Source: Game Informer