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David Fazio

Harmony at Work

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Home Entertainment That’s Inclusive: Microsoft's XBox One and Accessible Gaming Experience

Microsoft has reinvented home theater using the principle of “harmony at work” by including audiences of all abilities in every aspect of entertainment with their XBox One console, writes David Fazio.
Users with limited mobility in their hands or limbs can play video games in much of the same way as users of other abilities.

Image: Users with limited mobility in their hands or limbs can play video games in much of the same way as users of other abilities.

The new and improved XBox One picks up exactly where Panasonic’s Talking Viera television fell short.

XBox One was released right around the 2013 holiday season. This ultimate gaming machine features amenities that meet the needs of, and attract a broader market than, just gamers alone. XBox One offers users total entertainment immersion. The system was marketed as an “all-in-one games and entertainment device, designed for today and the decade ahead”. The Xbox One interface controls video game access, television access, movie viewing and music as a total entertainment center. 

A quadriplegic can slash bad guys – while playing a video game - with a simple head nod or even change the TV channel by just poking their tongue out. This is because Microsoft focused on providing a unique and meaningful entertainment experience as opposed to building a console that just allows “access” to video games. The entertainment hub uses Wi-Fi Direct to interact with smart, wireless devices and connect them through the cloud. It provides seamless integration with smartphones, tablets and all of the mobile applications that you have them loaded with.

Xbox One and Kinect technology provide users customizable options for ease of use. Total control over entertainment is not just in the palm of your hands or on your fingertips, it’s available through your gestures and voice. Along with physical gestures, you still have the option of using a controller, remote controls or smart devices to choose an option.

Windows Azure Windows Azure is a cloud computing platform and infrastructure

Image: More than 300,000 Xbox Live and Windows Azure servers provide a truly global network to help developers engineer new and unthinkable possibilities with a connected system.

The significance of the XBox One video game console is cross functional. The average, able-bodied gamer enjoys the novelties embedded in the system that simplify and enhance the pleasure of performing mundane, everyday tasks; in addition, they enjoy the virtual reality aspect of being in the game by performing a character’s actions with their own body movements or voice commands.

Gamers with disabilities are immersed in the virtual reality of the games in exactly the same way. The novelties embedded in the system to simplify repeated tasks and activities, such as changing channels, accessing the cable programming guide, recording and playing movies or TV shows are not novel for the disability community. Assistive Technology devices make all this possible. Microsoft’s Xbox One is a rather unconventional assistive technology device, but it’s here to stay.


Related Resources

Blog: Have We Entered the Golden Age of Accessibility? | Read Robert Pearson's Article.

Publication: AT&T Corporate Accessibility Technology Office | Download Free Report.

Event: ATIA 2014 Orlando, January 29-February 1, 2014 | View Event Details.


Related Items:

• NonVisual Desktop Access (NVDA)


• Microsoft and Special Olympics Partnership Focuses on Inclusion in E-Sports at Special Olympics 2018

• Loans and Resources for Disabled Entrepreneurs

• BSI documentary points the way to accessibility in buildings and the Internet

• EDF-Microsoft Panel Discussion at the European Union Parliament, Brussels, Belgium

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