Microsoft has another patent up its sleeve that could further advance the company's focus on accessibility for the video game industry. This particular idea involves a major change in the controls of the Xbox console, adding a screen in Braille for players with visual disabilities, in addition to palettes for interaction.
The truth is that many elements of the game can be taken for granted when the experiences of people with disabilities are not taken into account. As reported by the German technology site Let's Go Digital, the patent for a new Microsoft control offers an opportunity for on-screen text and graphic user interface (UI) assets to be better explained to players with visual disabilities.
The report notes that the current solution for players who can not read the text of the games are audio descriptions, but a built-in Braille screen would allow those with visual impairments to assimilate and process the data, while remaining immersed in the game.
The Microsoft patent describes an Xbox control with haptic Braille writing capability, and palettes on the back that can be rearranged and used to specifically involve Braille characters. For example, they allow you to start text chat in the game, and there is a potential for them to also give tactile feedback.
The patent continues describing the type of problems that Microsoft tries to solve, making reference to the evolution of the games, from the games of adventures with great amount of text, to the experiences that depend on complex graphs.
"Games that use these complex graphics are difficult for blind or visually impaired users, since audible comments can only describe game graphics in a limited way by using screen readers," says the patent.
In addition, when a game is moving quickly, as in a game of battles, the presence of a screen reader can delay the game, so Microsoft believes that there is still a need for improved game controls, and accessories that address specialized manner the way in which blind or visually impaired users interact with video games. The Braille system or language for the blind is what people with visual impairment or blindness use to write and read texts, books and documents.
Microsoft's Xbox Adaptive Controller has been well received, thanks to collaboration with organizations dedicated to players with disabilities and how the device can adapt to the needs of many for different types of games. This patent for a new control for Xbox reflects a similar modularity, but not at the height of the adaptive controller. There is still time for the company to develop the concept with an additional option, before it can move forward with manufacturing.