October 15, 2021

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Xbox Celebrates the Disability Community

We are honored to celebrate our remarkable disability community. We join you as part of this community and we have dedicated our careers to the pursuit of making gaming accessible and joyful for all. Having deeply invested our focus into making gaming across all platforms as inclusive as possible, we believe it all begins with education and connection. As members of the disability community, we prioritize internal education within Xbox and Microsoft to create clarity on what a commitment to the disability community really means for each member of the team. We bring in teachers and expert speakers to help the team better understand why this work is so crucial to the community who relies on it. Examples of these education opportunities include an introduction to deaf culture workshop and offering courses that teach American sign language (ASL) to name a few. We have seen the impact of this type of internal education, offering practical advice on how to become even better allies to our colleagues in the workplace who have disabilities, seen and unseen.

Education lies at the root of all understanding, and it is tied to our ambition to make gaming at Microsoft a truly welcoming and joyful place to work for people with disabilities. We are committed to attracting and hiring more people from the disability community. They not only bring the right skills but also provide lived experiences that help us make the most inclusive environment for our players. Another critical part of our work is creating safe spaces where people can feel free to be their authentic selves, they can come as they are and be with others who don’t just empathize but understand.  We have organized game nights, movie nights and coffee chats to help bring everyone together for support and friendship. These connections are crucial, especially after the past year when so many have felt isolated.

Our focus on these areas of education and connection translates into making positive changes in our products and how external audiences engage with Xbox. We continually come back to our guiding principle: If you don’t intentionally include, you unintentionally exclude. It is with this focus that we continue our work to provide connection and joy for the disability community, and for all gamers.

Please join Xbox and Microsoft Gaming as we celebrate and support the disability community. Here are some of ways we will be celebrating and raising awareness during the month of October and beyond.


Give


One Special Rematch: Rare and Playground Games Face Off on the Football Pitch to Benefit SpecialEffect’s One Special Day Event!

The commentary team line-up for the Rare vs. Playground football match, presented in a stylized graphic. 

Teams from Xbox Game Studios, Rare, and Playground Games, are set to play One Special Rematch on October 1, battling on the pitch to be Xbox Game Studios’ most skilled studio at soccer – all in the name of charity! The event benefits SpecialEffect, a UK based charitywhich uses video games and technology to enhance the quality of life of people with disabilities globally.  The Xbox community can support SpecialEffect and their One Special Day campaign through Microsoft Rewards on Xbox beginning on October 1 (US), then available in the UK in mid-October.

Watch the video above about SpecialEffect to learn more about amazing work they do for gamers with disabilities. Support Rare and Playground Games with their One Special Day fundraising and donate to SpecialEffect today!

Join the fun and watch the match broadcast on October 1, 6:00pm BST on twitch.tv/xbox. Learn more about the event here on Xbox Wire.

Microsoft Rewards on Xbox

Microsoft Rewards members in the United States can donate rewards points to organizations supporting the disability community through Xbox.

  • SpecialEffect – A UK based charity which uses video games and technology to enhance the quality of life of people with disabilities globally. The Xbox Community can donate their rewards points to support SpecialEffect’s One Special Day campaign!
  • The AbleGamers Foundation – An organization that creates opportunities that enable play in order to combat social isolation, foster inclusive communities, and improve the quality of life for people with disabilities.
  • Warfighter Engaged – An organization whose 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.

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 today and donate through Xbox


Discover


Xbox Accessibility Showcase  

As part of Xbox celebrating the Gaming & Disability Community, on October 1, Xbox will host Xbox Accessibility Showcase video. The experience will kick off with a video highlighting the work Xbox has done, in partnership with the community, to make gaming accessible and joyful for everyone. The video will highlight some of the most impactful accessibility work done to date, amazing community stories, announce a lineup of new accessibility features coming to Xbox players and showcase future accessibility plans from the team. The show will demonstrate Xbox’s ongoing dedication to accessibility, continuously evolving and working with the Gaming & Disability Community to improve the inclusiveness of its products and services to welcome all players. Watch the video here. Learn more about the new accessibility features and updates announced in the Xbox Accessibility Showcase here.

Minecraft: Education Edition Showcases Microsoft’s Neurodiversity Hiring Program

Two female NPCs face viewer to welcome them to Minecraft Offices re-created in Minecraft.

The Minecraft Education team collaborated with the Microsoft Inclusive Hiring team to develop a case study video about a Neurodiversity Hiring Program at Microsoft that utilizes Minecraft: Education Edition. This video shares that story, and how group participation in a set of customized Minecraft challenges presents an opportunity for neurodivergent candidates to show valuable skills in competency areas like teamwork, creative problem-solving, leadership, and communication. In conjunction with NDEAM 2021 (National Disability Employment Awareness Month) and to celebrate the Minecraft Disability Community, we’re sharing this video along with a playbook, available to all organizations, to encourage widespread adoption of inclusive hiring processes for neurodivergent candidates. This will be included in a talk at the GA Conference, during the Xbox Accessibility moment in October, and as an article on the Minecraft: Education Edition website.

Check Out Game Accessibility Conference 2021 (GaConf)

Microsoft is proud to be a Gold Sponsor for the Game Accessibility Conference (GaConf) 2021, a free, online public conference dedicated to making accessible games and elevating the voices of  players and developers with disabilities. The conference includes a session on the Minecraft Inclusive Hiring program and accessibility in horror games.

Xbox Plays Honors World Sight Day on October 14

On Thursday, October 14 from 11am – 12:30pm PT, in recognition of World Sight Day, Xbox Plays will host a stream featuringcreator SightlessKombat, who will be playing The Vale: Shadow of the Crown, an audio-only game that is geared towards blind and low-vision gamers. Xbox Plays will also feature Streamer Takeovers for Disability Awareness the week of October 18 to 22. Join the fun at https://www.twitch.tv/Xbox!


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Microsoft Casual Games Celebrates Game Accessibility ​​

The Microsoft Casual Games logo with four graphics representing High Contrast, Audio Narration, Keyboard Navigation, and Visual Assistance.

By making games more available and accessible, players around the world can enjoy free-to-play game experiences. Through FAQs, social posts, and in-game messages – players will discover how to enable high contrast mode, turn on audio narration, use keyboard navigation, and engage with vision assist content & features in Microsoft Casual Games. Learn more here.  Join the fun with Microsoft Casual Games!

Sea of Thieves Continues to Focus on Accessibility for Players

Since launch, over 52% of Sea of Thieves updates have included accessibility features or improvements — most recently, such updates have enabled features such as single-stick play and narrated emotes. Learn more about Sea of Thieves’ commitment to accessibility here.

Xbox Community Game Club Showcases Games with Accessibility Features

The Xbox Community Game Club is a weekly way to play, share, and discuss games together as a community. Though the month of October, we will be featuring games that have distinct accessibility features. Join the fun on the Xbox Community Game Club main page!

Play. Connect. Impact: Learn more about Microsoft and Xbox’s ongoing commitment to accessibility in gaming here.

Related:
Xbox Celebrates the Disability Community with New Accessibility Updates
Making Empathy Accessible in Life is Strange: True Colors, Available Now for Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S
Xbox Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month
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