Developers work on a laundry list of details when they’re making games. And while some do take disabilities into account, it falls upon organizations such as the Special Effect charity to help those with physical challenges play games.
Microsoft is helping, too, with its Inclusive Technologies Lab. The Xbox company gave our Dean Takahashi an exclusive tour of this facility, and while there, he not only saw what Microsoft is working on but also learned what it feels like to use alternative control schemes to play games.
Take Dean’s time with Rocket League in the Inclusive Technologies Lab. He used a pedal and buttons on either side of his knees to control the car. The next demo had three tubes that replaces gamepads so that quadriplegic people can play games. He saw other solutions for blind and deaf players, including a way that two people can control one character, and Microsoft said that blind people have said their kids could be their eyes, enabling them not only to play the game but make it a family activity as well.
Gaming should strive to bring everyone who wants to play into the fold. And it’s going to take more than game developers to make it happen. We’ll need peripheral makers like Tobii and its eye-tracking tech and the standard game controller manufacturers such as Razer to work on this. Publishers and first parties such as Microsoft need to step further.
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And we, the everyday players, need to ask that all parts of the gaming ecosystem keep those with physical challenges in mind when creating games.
—Jason Wilson, GamesBeat managing editor
P.S. Dean takes us into Microsoft’s Skunkworks for making inclusive tech for gaming (and more).
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