Earlier this month, Microsoft announced several upcoming accessibility features for Xbox players. A few of those features, including controller-to-keyboard input remapping, are now live and ready to use. This keyboard mapping feature is particularly significant as it will increase gaming options and improve the overall experience for folks with disabilities. Players will now have the ability to configure the buttons of the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 and the Xbox Adaptive Controller to match specific keys on their keyboards. Microsoft says this will help to "expand controller input capabilities in games that have many commands, have limited remapping capabilities, or do not support controllers."
Keyboard mapping has been heavily requested by the accessibility community and this move by Microsoft shows the company is still listening. Now that this has been implemented, it will hopefully be easier for smaller developers to include accessibility features as well since they won't have to create that link independently.
Microsoft has come a long way since stepping into the accessibility market. Back in 2015, the company launched the Xbox One Elite controller, which wasn't necessarily designed with accessibility in mind. But many of that controller’s features have ultimately proven helpful for those with different needs.
Microsoft later took a more intentional approach with the Xbox Adaptive Controller, which was released in 2018. This was created with the input of accessibility and inclusion advocates like AbleGamers, Warfighter Engaged, SpecialEffect, Craig Hospital and the Cerebral Palsy Foundation. The Xbox Adaptive Controller was the first of its kind, offering a plug-and-play option for people with disabilities.
Other updates mentioned in today’s announcement include a better way to capture and edit game stills in Clipchamp and improvements to diagnostic data sharing. All these features are live and can be accessed now.