Microsoft updates its Xbox Accessibility Guidelines

Two people playing games, one using Xbox controller and the other using Accessibility controller

In a blog post called The Future of Game Accessibility on Xbox, Microsoft announced some changes that it's making to its Xbox Accessibility Guidelines (XAGs). The XAGs were first launched in January 2020 as a way for developers to go down a checklist and make sure that their games are accessible. Of course, the team listened to feedback, and that's why there are some changes happening today.

A lot of it is about making the XAGs simpler. Language is going to be simplified, using fewer technical terms, and every XAG is getting a goal statement. Now, every developer can read through the list and see the clear goal as to why an XAG exists. That goes along with a better overview for each XAG, which is a summary of how it will affect gamers.

Also being added are scoping questions, and these are going to be yes or no questions that help the developer decide if an XAG is particularly important to their game. Other things being improved are key areas to target, background and foundational info, implementation guideline examples, and more.

But that's not all, because now, developers can actually ship their game off to Microsoft and have it tested against the XAGs. This is, of course, for both PC and Xbox games, and once Microsoft validates it against the recommendations in the XAGs, it will give notes on the issues, along with repro steps, screenshots, and more. Microsoft says that it's going to be using gamers with disabilities for the testing too, so developers will be getting their insights.

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