Xbox boss Phil Spencer and corporate vice president Sarah Bond have said the future of gaming is all about accessibility and breaking down barriers of restriction.
Speaking to IGN Japan during Tokyo Game Show, Bond and Spencer answered a fan’s question about what Xbox’s expectations and hopes for the future of video games are.
“We know that three billion people play games, but they can’t all play together today, right?,” Bond said. “There’s all these barriers between the platforms for various reasons and a lot of what we do at Xbox is we want to take those away.
“We want everyone to be able to play together globally regardless of what kind of hardware they’re on and be able to communicate and do those things together with instant translation, take down all of these barriers, no matter your ability.”
This is evidenced by Xbox’s investment in the adaptive controller, Bond said, something that she thinks will spark a lot of positivity within gaming. “It isn’t something only for one group of people somewhere or someplace,” she said.
“Your best friend can live on the other side of the world, you would have no idea what they look like or what language that they speak, and that is going to unlock amazing experiences for you and relationships you otherwise would have never had.”
This is something that Spencer attested to as well, commenting alongside Bond that the potential of removing these barriers can even go beyond gaming.
Microsoft’s Adaptive Keyboard Buttons
“Something that the planet needs more of [is] for people with different perspectives spending more time together and hearing from each other,” he said. “And I want video games to be a forum for that.
“The interactive entertainment mechanism is just so good to drive connections between people; we’ve seen that over years, and I want video games to continue on this path of connecting creator to player to creator over and over. I just think that’s a fantastic future for us.”.
Xbox’s adaptive accessory line, which has been designed for players to create a controller set-up perfect for them, will be available this fall from the Microsoft Store and will join other accessibility initiatives from the company including an Xbox Adaptive Controller that was released in 2018 and built for gamers with limited mobility.
Microsoft has also been advancing accessibility on the software side, introducing guidelines for its developers and even an evaluation system that ensures games are built with all players in mind.
The initiatives appear to be working, as the Xbox Series X includes a number of accessibility focused options and Xbox console exclusive Forza Horizon 5 won IGN’s Noteworthy Advancement in Accessibility award last year.
Ryan Dinsdale is an IGN freelancer. He’ll talk about The Witcher all day.