Anita Mortaloni, the head of accessibility at Xbox, recently opened up about the company’s commitment to inclusivity in an inspiring interview. Xbox, owned by Microsoft, recently held an accessibility showcase to unveil a range of updates that cater to disabled gamers. The event took place at Microsoft’s Inclusive Tech Lab in Redmond, Washington, and Mortaloni highlighted these improvements in a blog post on October 13th.
The main theme of the showcase was to make gaming experiences, games, and platforms more accessible to people with disabilities. Mortaloni emphasized the power of connection that comes from play and the joy of helping others discover the fun of gaming. These updates are just the beginning, as Xbox plans to collaborate with the community and industry to ensure that the power of play reaches even more people in the years to come.
Mortaloni revealed that Xbox actively seeks feedback from the Xbox Accessibility Insiders League (XAIL) to understand what members expect from a more inclusive gaming experience. Through this collaboration, three key areas were identified: the addition of more assistive software, including customizable text and captions, improved accessibility options, and involving the disability community in the design and development processes. Xbox aims to represent the world at large, including the over one billion people with disabilities, by removing barriers to play and enabling everyone to enjoy games with whomever and wherever they desire.
If you’re looking for accessible games on Xbox, Mortaloni recommends checking out the 20 accessibility tags found on the Xbox store. These tags cover various audio/visual, input, and gameplay settings. Additionally, the Family Gaming Database provides detailed accessibility pages for games and serves as a useful resource for parents and guardians. Two games, Grounded and As Dusk Falls, were specifically highlighted at the Xbox Accessibility Showcase for their inclusivity features such as arachnophobia mode and text-to-speech settings.
The feedback on Xbox’s accessibility efforts has been incredibly positive. Developers and publishers who utilize Microsoft’s Game Testing Accessibility Service, which allows accessibility experts to test Xbox and PC titles confidentially, have responded favorably. Furthermore, since its launch, Xbox ambassadors have completed over 111,000 explore path missions.
However, Xbox understands that the journey toward accessibility is ongoing. Mortaloni is encouraged by the progress the game industry has made in this area, with more journalists covering accessibility and more content creators with disabilities advocating for inclusivity. Accessibility is also becoming a key component of major events, such as the Tokyo Game Show, where Xbox provided Japanese Sign Language and Audio Description.
The Xbox team recognizes that their work is far from over. They view disability as a strength and actively seek feedback from the disability community to improve their accessible products and services. Mortaloni expressed their dedication to breaking down barriers to play and making gaming a truly inclusive experience for everyone.
To learn more about Xbox’s commitment to accessibility, visit Capturing Fantasy.