_The Advances of XBOX: COPILOT & Adaptive Controller


_XBOX made great efforts into the field of accessibility and implemented a wide array of software and hardware for this purpose. Like a highly sophisticated text-to-speech for system UI elements, a mono toggle of unilateral hearing loss (impairment in only one ear while the other ear is in ‘normal’ limits) and a zoom function. They also included features for real time speech-to-text and text-to-speech ingame – the tech is yet not perfect, also because its difficult to cope with the game specific terminologies and lingo, which can change rather quickly.

_I myself tried speech-to-text out of curiosity in APEX LEGENDS, cause often teammates are very hard to understand or just way too quiet to hear them, but the algorithm may hear them. But to put it shortly, speech-to-text works rather horribly. Often, it’s just an unintelligible array of random words which hardly approximate what has been said; it seems to work best with the English language, then it sometimes gets it right. Mostly. Yet does generate absurdly funny combination of sounds resulting in a fun time at least. But the technology will get better eventually and can enable hearing or sight impaired people to take part in conversations which would otherwise be inaccessible to them.

_Also, XBOX introduced the copilot mode, a simple but brilliant solution. Two controllers are connected to the same console and give the same input simultaneously – making it possible for someone else to jump in and help if it is needed. For example, a parents could help their kids getting through difficult sections, while everything else is handled by the kids themselves. Or a blind person could play a game by hearing alone, while another person helps with the walking through the level, which could only be accessible trough sight. Originally it was designed to split the controls between two separate controllers; therefore, maybe controlling one side of the controller with one limb and the other parts of the controller with some other body part, which might not reach the other side of the initial controller. This method can make highly expensive customized controllers obsolete and democratizes technology further. They also published the adaptive controller, a tool for people with various impairments to make it possible for them to customize their inputs even further to their needs.


_Literature & Resources

  1. Xbox Copilot (Satya Nadella 2021 Ready Keynote) https://youtu.be/BsuDHoIwIzM
  2. Introducing the Xbox Adaptive Controller https://youtu.be/9fcK19CAjWM
  3. https://medium.com/potato/the-right-to-play-accessibility-in-gaming-a954b01023f


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