It seems that the Gaming for Everyone initiative has been taking strides behind the scenes at Microsoft. Through brainstorming events within the company, employees have been working hard to bring ‘inclusive design’ to the Xbox One.
Design strategist, Kris Woolery, is one of the leading examples. She recently hosted an Xbox Social Gaming Sprint that focused on implementing new features for the hearing impaired. The event increased awareness of common handicaps and difficulties faced by the everyday player. With these kinds of sprints, developers and researchers will be able to change the way that gaming is approached for everyone.
Another example of this is the tweet from the “Head of Xbox” himself, Phil Spencer:
No petition needed, we hear you. This is something that we've already looked at, not far off.
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) July 4, 2016
In response to a user asking for wheelchairs in Xbox Avatars, Mr. Spencer confirmed that his team has already reviewed the popular idea and are planned as an upcoming option for Xbox avatars. While Phil only replied about wheelchairs, it leaves more to wonder what else might be added. With the spirit of general inclusion, there might be plenty more additions coming as well.
For many players, an avatar is how they represent themselves to others. Making the most minor of changes to include a wider player base is the very core of the Gaming for Everyone initiative. Gamers have to wonder what else will roll out with the wheelchairs, but even if this is a singular addition, it is a major step in the right direction for a more inclusive design for Xbox and Microsoft.
We’re excited to see Microsoft continuing to make its products more accessible. Let us know in the comments if you agree that adding a wheelchair option to Xbox Avatars is a great idea.