Microsoft takes inclusion virtually

Photo of the Xbox Adaptive Controller in use Photo credit: Courtesy of Xbox Media Assets

Microsoft, the company behind the Xbox, saw gaming with disabilities as a challenge and decided to accommodate gamers with physical and visual challenges.

Gamers with disabilities should be able to enjoy the wonderfully immersive and engaging world of video gaming.

But outside of the gaming world, differences are endless. These differences make individuals who they are. Although, the differences can also impact the way those gamers play their games.

Those who can’t use a regular two-handed controller are not able to play up to their maximum skill level. This is the same for gamers who can’t see certain colours. Both challenges create disadvantages.

The Adaptive Xbox Controller (XAC) was released in September of 2018 and allows gamers with physical disabilities the opportunity to play freely.

According to Accessibility Specialist Ian Hamilton, “You can use the XAC to replace anything between one and all of the inputs on a regular controller with ones that are more accessible to you.”

The Adaptive Controller has two large black pads which the individual can use with their elbow or their feet to operate their device; the back of the controller has every button on a standard controller with a three and a half millimetre ports to allow third-party products.

If needed, individuals can use the Adaptive Controller in conjunction with a handheld joystick. For example, if the individual has to use their elbow but have a hand they are able to game with, a handheld joystick is also available.

The possibilities to game are endless.

Not only do gamers with physical disabilities get the ability to play on Microsoft consoles but the games in which the gamer can play on Microsoft devices have the option to change the colours for anyone who is colourblind.

In games like the new Apex Legends, players can choose between Protanopia, which compensates for red-green colour deficit. Dueteranopia compensates for a different red-green colour deficit and, finally, Tritanopia, compensates for blue-yellow colour deficits.

Changing this option makes certain coloured items in the game, like ammo or gear, to appear different than how they would if the setting was off.

To further the inclusion of gamers with disabilities, games played on Microsoft devices also offer the option to turn on closed captions.

Apex Legends took this method and included it as well, but, since Apex Legends doesn’t have cinematic parts during in-game, the company Respawn Entertainment allowed gamers with trouble hearing to turn on and see what the characters in-game are saying.

Gaming is a leisure activity or a job for many people around the world.

Allowing individuals with gaming challenges to have the opportunity to try out the growing industry makes it a success.

When playing video games with your friends, the only differences between gamers should be the characters the gamers play or the names they choose.

Gaming devices like the Adaptive Controller help level the playing field.