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Microsoft creates testing program that ensures game accessibility 

A Microsoft commercial centering on several kids with disabilities will air during the Super Bowl.
(Picture: Microsoft)

In January 2020, Microsoft released Xbox Accessibility Guidelines (XAGs) in an effort to provide more direction to developers creating games that are accessible to users with disabilities.  

Designers asked Microsoft for additional explanation on how to ensure the guidelines were properly met in their games while others requested help with regards to where to start.

With the feedback in mind, Microsoft’s gaming accessibility team updated the XAGs by:

  • making the language used in the guidelines less technical and easier to understand, 
  • setting clear goals, 
  • adding scoping questions to help developers identify which XAGs to focus on, and,
  • including numerous real-world examples of the guidelines in action.

In addition, the team partnered with the game reliability engineering division to produce an accessibility testing program used to validate games that meet the guidelines. Developers can send Microsoft their Xbox or PC game and have it tested against the XAGs. All tests are performed alongside members of the gaming and disability community who provide insight about issues that able gamers might not have noticed.

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