Perhaps the greatest innovation in the gaming industry in recent years has been the Kinect. No controller required, only your body movements. But how accessible is the Kinect? Has Microsoft taken care of its gamers who have physical/ sensory impairments?
Yes it has.
One important requirement for playing Kinect games is that the player has to be standing in order to get recognized by the Kinect sensors. But what if the player is in a wheelchair? There are some Kinect titles that allow the player to keep sitting while playing – no need to stand!
Microsoft encourages players in wheelchairs to try to move long protruding arm rests (some motorized wheelchairs have them) away from Kinect’s view because the Kinect sensor may think that they are another set of arms. Also, it is advisable to keep the sensor at seated chest level or slightly higher, not below.
Microsoft is also encouraging publishers to include features that would be enjoyed by users while sitting. Quite many features in the latest XBox Live update allows users to use voice commands while sitting to navigate through the dashboard and perform required actions (play/ pause/ stop/ forward/ rewind/ next/ previous/go home) – a blessing for users with impaired motor skills for whom operating a remote control may not be easy.
If you have any questions regarding accessibility with Kinect, contact Kinect accessibility experts at xaccess[at]microsoft[dot]com.
Read more about Kinect accessibility here.