As much as I love games and gaming in general, big publishers often seem intent on sucking the life out of my favorite hobby with aggressive monetization, unreasonable deadlines leading to rushed releases, and well, Fortnite (I’m kidding ̶n̶o̶t̶ ̶r̶e̶a̶l̶l̶y̶). However, there is at least ONE positive trend hitting more and more games that I think literally all of us can get behind. And that is one of improved accessibility.
It’s a simple gesture, and even if the accessibility options afforded per title aren’t as deep as they could be (or should be), if every developer started doing this as standard, simply having accessibility in mind at the outset from the main menu could lead to a wave of change that could benefit millions of gamers.
@BleedingEdgeNT and @Xbox showing Accessibility options front and center. It’s a great thing that MS has continued to have a quality standard to accessibility in their games. Something that the rest of the industry need to mirror. Great for gamers. pic.twitter.com/xr1VlcJ5T1
— chris woelfel (@woelfel) February 11, 2020
I was lucky enough to work with a friend on the Xbox Adaptive Controller, and see for myself how a bit of investment from developers can lead to a huge boost in usability and comfort for those with disabilities and other ergonomic challenges. Even something as basic as being able to change the text size in games is something far too few games offer (cheers, Zombie Army 4!)
I appreciate that smaller developers might not have the resources or dev hours to invest in building an entire suite of accessibility features into their games. Thankfully, Microsoft offers a lot of tools for Xbox games at a system level for configuring accessibility features.
Windows thankfully has a lot of third-party options (and some first-party options) to circumvent these kinds of oversights. Still, console games don’t have the same access to external software, so much of the heavy lifting has to come from developers.
A positive wave of change
Microsoft’s motto for Xbox in recent years has been, “When everybody plays, we all win,” and nothing sums up the push for disability inclusion more succinctly. It’s great to see more developers get with the program, even if there’s still a lot more work to do.