A blog post outlining the latest status of the Xbox Compatibility Standards, launched in January 2020, was recently published by Microsoft. In the post, Brandon Zahand, senior program manager responsible for gaming inclusion, outlined how the organization is interested in the gaming and disabilities culture.
He also said feedback is welcomed on the Xbox and PC sites to strengthen the guidelines and video games.
A list of changes made to the XAG by the Gaming and Usability Team and the lead of the project, Kaitlyn Jones, is outlined in the statement. In designing games on Microsoft platforms, the enhancements allow developers to recognize more precisely what kinds of requirements are supposed to be upheld.
The improvements include simplifying the terminology used to be more understandable in the instructions, including image/video samples of well-incorporated usability features, and even others focused on efficient communication and where to continue searching for solutions.
Microsoft has progressively ramped up Xbox’s usability requirements to be more in line with its other devices after the XAG launch in 2019 and its introduction in early 2020. The new Microsoft Game Usability Testing Service that was recently launched is an instance of this new focus.
A collaboration between both the Usability and Usability Team and the System Stability Engineering team of Microsoft is the software. Developers launching a game will give it to Microsoft to test it and see if it follows the requirements of XAG for Microsoft’s PC or Xbox platforms.
To do this, to help assess the game, Microsoft enlists recognized subject matter specialists as well as persons with disabilities. Photos and videos of problem areas are submitted back to developers to be repaired as changes can be made.
Microsoft has helped promote an inclusive atmosphere on its platforms by providing a forum where developers can create inclusivity into games from the ground up to allow Microsoft to test and research a developer’s game to its usability requirements.
This is an ideal place to look at opportunities to draw the platform to users. The risk of losing time and resources is minimized by making the task as simple as possible for developers.
And by making a product as open as possible, the creator can make sure their game is available to a larger audience.
It’s a form of asymmetrical approach that has served Nintendo for many console years to target a wider audience. Nintendo helped cultivate an entirely new group of players and game makers under an accessibility platform that had not been seen in the industry before, by introducing the Wii Remote.
Soon Wii remotes were sold to adults over the age of 60, people way beyond the traditional demographic of Nintendo, when Wii Sports were all the rage at senior homes.
These new usability improvements illustrate how, following the completion of the previous generation of video game consoles, Microsoft has changed course.
If the launch of the Xbox Adaptive Controller was not a statement on the company’s goal to include everybody in its vision, this change of direction will be reinforced by the improved XAG and usability gaming testing service. Xbox is developing a brand to make the games available to as many players as possible, as several ways to do so are used.
“In an interview with Game Rant, James Gwertzman, Head of Xbox Cloud Gaming, expressed his belief in inclusivity by enabling all types of gamers to experience Xbox games, saying, “Every developer has the same aim of reaching gamers…
Our Xbox team will fight with PlayStation to try to get more players to purchase our console, but at the same time, the aim is to help them attract gamers everywhere they are when it comes to promoting game creators. This feeling is echoed by the number of independent games being championed on Xbox as exclusive games.
In 2021, Microsoft has positioned itself as an egalitarian juggernaut in the industry and its online platforms focused on encouraging both developers and gamers to make their games more available to a broader audience. Time can say if a comment is enough to contend with the PlayStation 5 and the long list of exclusive assets for its console from Sony.