Team Xbox honors Disability Pride month for the first time, uplifting our extraordinary Gaming and Disability community. As a member of the disability community and an Xbox Accessibility Program Manager, I’d like to highlight the importance of celebrating people with disabilities. Disability Pride is about acknowledging our own unique experiences with disability as a natural and beautiful aspect of human diversity. This includes all disabilities – both seen and unseen. This is our chance to highlight the vast spectrum of people represented by this moment, including advocates past and present working to create more inclusive and accessible experiences across all facets of life. This is an opportunity for Xbox to celebrate the more than 400 million video game players with disabilities around the world (source), as we aim to create a space where people with disabilities don’t feel the need to mask or cover their disabilities, but find connection among an inclusive gaming community that celebrates us as we are.
As someone with multiple invisible disabilities, the tendency to mask and cover resonates with me. We must work to remove this barrier for so many who feel that they must hide their disabilities to fit in or make others feel more comfortable. It took many years, but with the support of friends and family I’ve learned to embrace the importance of my mental health, chronic pain, and attention-deficit-related disabilities as key aspects of my identity. Like so many others in the disability community, it drives the work I find meaningful and has led to amazing opportunities to work on projects near and dear to my heart. This includes our new Mental Health Guidelines section of our Xbox Accessibility Guidelines that launched in May.
My connection to this community began with the nonprofit work my father does with wounded veterans through Warfighter Engaged. It grew as I pursued a career in occupational therapy before joining Team Xbox. I have witnessed so many navigating their own journeys with temporary and permanent disabilities. For myself and many others, gaming commonly played a powerful role in unlocking opportunities to connect socially with others and build a community of support through fun and engaging mediums. Gaming is a staple of modern culture today, and it should be inclusive of everyone who wants to play. This inspires my work and the work of my team, as we remain vigilant in our dedication to helping the disability community feel heard, included, and supported in accessing gaming in a way that brings them joy and community.
As we honor Disability Pride, here are a few ways that Xbox is celebrating and uplifting our Gaming and Disability community in July and beyond:
Ways to connect and join our community!
Team Xbox is excited to offer features and resources that support and enable the Gaming and Disability community to come together, play, and be who they are. We remain committed to providing gaming experiences that invite all players to share in the joy and connection of gaming. Learn more.
- American Sign Language (ASL) Xbox Twitch Channel – Two months ago, Xbox launched an American Sign Language (ASL) Xbox channel on Twitch at /XboxASL in partnership with Sorenson, a communications company with the largest interpreter base in the world. Every day, the Xbox Plays team goes live on the Xbox Twitch channel, playing the latest and greatest titles from the world of Xbox. The channel features interpretation for approximately 25 hours of livestreams each week. Visit the new channel here and learn more about Xbox’s partnership with Sorenson here.
- Filter capabilities on tags making it easier to discover the next game you will love – Last fall, Xbox announced the addition of Accessibility Feature Tags for games in the Xbox Store, making it easier for players to find games that have one or more of the 20 accessibility tags that were defined in partnership with the disability community and user research. Now with over 400 titles tagged and over 100 with 5 or more tags, we are excited to share players can now search and then filter by one or more tags to find their next game! This feature was based on community feedback, and we look forward to continuing to incorporate suggestions in the future.
- Addition of required inputs for games on Family Gaming Database: Xbox is proud to support the Family Gaming Database as it makes it easier for players with disabilities to find games with control schemes that are well-suited for them. Their accessibility pages now lists the default required inputs to popular games to enable caregivers, occupational therapists, and physical therapists to more easily create adaptive gaming configurations for those in the Gaming & Disability Community they support. Check out more on the Family Gaming Database Accessibility pages.
Gaming and Impact with Microsoft Rewards
Microsoft Rewards members in the United States and the United Kingdom can earn and donate points to organizations supporting gaming and disability communities with Xbox. The organizations below will be featured on console throughout July:
- SpecialEffect: We put fun and inclusion back into the lives of physically disabled people by helping them to play video games. We are transforming the lives of physically disabled people across the world through the innovative use of technology. At the heart of our work is our mission to maximize fun and quality of life by helping people control video games to the best of their abilities. (US and UK)
- The AbleGamers Foundation: Creating opportunities that enable play in order to combat social isolation, foster inclusive communities, and improve the quality of life for people with disabilities. (US)
- Warfighter Engaged: Warfighter Engaged Is a 501c3 non-profit. Their mission is to improve the lives of severely injured and disabled warfighters with custom adapted video game controllers, recreational items, and other solutions to provide greater independence. (US)
- DAGERSystem: DAGERSystem is a nonprofit focused on gaming journalism through the lens of accessibility. Our goal is to educate disabled gamers and their support systems, while providing meaningful employment for disabled professionals. (US, featured mid-July)
Xbox gamers can earn Microsoft Rewards points in various ways, such as playing or purchasing games after downloading the Microsoft Rewards app on Xbox. Earn points and redeem them for real rewards. Join us today and donate through Xbox.
Xbox Ambassadors Feature Stories about Gaming and Disability
Throughout Disability Pride Month, we will be spotlighting stories about accessibility in gaming from Xbox Ambassadors within the community with disabilities. These are their stories.
Discover Games Curated by Disability and Neurodiversity Communities at Microsoft
People with disabilities and who are neurodiverse are among the talented people that work on and play games, and have been for as long as games have existed. During July and beyond, Microsoft Store on Xbox or Windows visitors and Xbox Game Pass members can easily access games created by and reflecting the experiences of neurodiversity and people with disabilities related to chronic or complex illness, mobility, hearing, vision, speech, learning, and mental health.
Check out a few highlights from the Xbox and Windows games collection that include creators, leads, experiences, and character creation options that include features like prosthetic limbs.
Citizen Sleeper (Available with Xbox Game Pass) – Roleplaying in the ruins of interplanetary capitalism, this game explores the complexity of a body that functions differently than the mind. In order to keep your artificial body alive, you must acquire technology that is high in demand and hard to come by, creating a playable experience that is parallel to the obstacles of having a disability in today’s modern world.
Forza Horizon 5 (Available with Xbox Game Pass) – Forza Horizon 5 improved character creation options to include prosthetic limbs and pronoun options. Accessibility features also include American Sign Language (ASL) and British Sign Language (BSL) support for in-game cinematics, a game speed modification setting, customizable subtitle options, High Contrast mode, Color Blindness mode, and more.
The Vale: Shadow of the Crown – Play as Alex, a princess who was born blind, in this audio-based adventure created in partnership with people who are blind. This action-adventure game also won Best Blind/Low Vision Accessibility, and Indie Excellence Awards from Can I Play That? in 2021.
Fractured Minds – Created by Emily Mitchell with the hope of aiding in understanding and awareness of mental illness, this game explores anxiety and mental health through a journey into the human psyche.
Psychonauts 2 (Available with Xbox Game Pass) – This fun action-platformer explores the psyche of its characters and is praised for its approach to mental health. Dr. Raffael Boccamazzo is an autism self-advocate and was consulted as a mental health expert.
View the collections in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Czechia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Vietnam. Visitors to both the Xbox and Microsoft Store on Windows can find disability and neurodiversity community picks by searching for “Disability”, “Neurodiversity”, and related terms. Content is subject to availability by country.
Celebrate with New Disability Pride Gamerpic, Profile Themes and Avatar Items!
In partnership with gaming and disability communities at Xbox, we’re introducing a new gamerpic, profile themes, and avatar items! The gamerpic and profile theme will be available on console and the Xbox PC app. Get your avatar items here. Content is subject to availability by country.
To learn more about what Xbox is doing to making gaming more accessible and inclusive for everyone on the planet, check out the Xbox Gaming Accessibility Page for the latest resources, discover the updates shared at GAAD or find support for accessibility features on our support page.
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