Last week, an article from GamesRadar+ caught the attention of Microsoft accessibility specialists. Originally, GamesRadar+ reported on an Xbox Series X / S hands-on video last month, reporting that the ports on the rear of the consoles feature “raised Braille bumps” for accessibility. Technically, these aren’t Braille and are instead tactile indicators.
Tara Voelker, Accessibility Program Manager, and Gaming & Disability Community Lead at Xbox, shared the article on Twitter with a clarification, stating that “Technically, it’s not Braille, it’s just tactile indicators for the ports”
Further to this, Bryce Johnson, Microsoft’s Inclusive Lead detailed that they “suggested we put tactile indicators (for the blind) over the ports of the Xbox Series X,”. In addition to being a helpful feature for blind players, he also says that it additionally, “helps for reach-around cabling.” The design was worked in by the design team with Kaitlyn Jones who is a Program Manager working with Xbox’s accessibility team.
Bryce adds, “It’s not a complete solution but we’ll see how it does & learn.” The image he uses to show off the tactile indicators are clearly seen on the back of the Xbox Series X from a photo shared by Daniel Ahmad, a Senior Analyst at Niko Partners.
It’s a nice little touch and certainly keeps Microsoft’s efforts to be inclusive intact. Earlier this year, the live events for the Xbox games showcase included streams that also included ASL, audio description, and captions. We’ll no doubt be learning more about what other accessibility features the next-generation consoles feature the closer to launch we get. In this case, the Xbox will be launching on November 10.