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Microsoft announces game accessibility testing program for PC and Xbox

Xbox and PC game developers can now send their titles to Microsoft to ensure they meet the company’s accessibility guidelines.

In a blog post, Microsoft has outlined a new ‘industry-first’ testing program where studios can receive feedback to help them ensure the game they’re working on caters for those with disabilities.

Microsoft says where issues are found by the Game Reliability Engineering team and the Gaming Accessibility Team, developers will be given detailed feedback on how to remedy the situation.

That will include “reproduction steps, screenshots, and other information to help the developer understand what aspect of a given experience may be challenging for certain gamers with disabilities.”

Microsoft says that the testing program should assist developers who’re just now attempting to make their PC and Xbox games more accessible, as well as those who’re already making their games more inclusive.

Microsoft is also reporting on how it is improving its Xbox Accessibility Guidelines following recent feedback from gamers. It says each guideline now has a clear goal associated with it, while there’s an improved overview and language to ensure the guidelines are more easily understood.

The Xbox maker has upped its efforts to ensure games are inclusive for all abilities and, a couple of years ago, launched the Xbox Adaptive Controller. The device is designed for gamers with limited mobility.

Elsewhere, game developers are also making considerable strides when it comes to accessibility. The hit game The Last of Us 2 was praised for setting new standards for accessibility, for example.

“There will be before The Last of Us 2 and after The Last of Us 2,” said Steve Saylor of Can I Play This and the YouTube series Blind Gamer, back in June 2020.

Do you think Microsoft, Sony and the key developers are doing enough to promote inclusivity for gamers of all abilities? Let us know your experiences @trustedreviews on Twitter.

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