What’s next for Xbox accessibility tech? Microsoft isn’t sure.


Among tech giants, Microsoft is a leader when it comes to accessibility. On the software side of things, Windows 11 was designed with accessibility in mind. When it comes to hardware, Microsoft’s Xbox Adaptive Controller has won awards and praise for helping gamers. Microsoft also has other accessibility technology, like its Seeing AI app that helps blind people access information. With all this tech available, Bryce Johnson, the inclusive lead at Microsoft and co-creator of the Xbox Adaptive Controller, says he’s not sure what’s next for Xbox accessibility tech.

“We don’t know what to do next,” Johnson explains. “All the low hanging fruit has kind of been picked.”

Johnson’s comments come from a discussion with PC Gamer. The interview runs through some of the challenges of creating the Xbox Adaptive Controller and how improving accessibility has gained traction in the industry.

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One challenge the Xbox Adaptive Controller set to overcome was the high price of tech that improves accessibility. “We did a lot of homework around other assistive technologies,” said Johnson, “and were upset by how much they could be.” Microsoft always planned to keep the Xbox Adaptive Controler under $100 and “made deliberate choices to make sure [it] kept it that way,” according to Johnson.

With the Xbox Adaptive Controller being relatively affordable and meeting the goals of the Xbox team, Johnson admits that his team has hit “a bit of a plateau.” Johnson notes, however, that “unintentional barriers” appear for gamers regularly. As a result, Microsoft will have challenges to respond to as they appear.

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