Xbox Adds Party Chat Accessibility Features

More accessibility for more players

Microsoft announced new accessibility features on Thursday for Xbox Party Chat that will make it easier for players with hearing or speech difficulties to enjoy playing with their friends.

Xbox Party Chat now will have speech-to-text abilities and text-to-speech abilities for Xbox Insiders. Xbox said the speech-to-text transcription would convert words spoken by people in the party into text displayed in an adjustable overlay on top of gameplay.  

The text-to-speech feature allows players to type into Party Chats and have it read by a voice to the rest of the people in the party. The feature also allows players to choose their own voice and language.

Xbox Party Chat accessibility feature


“Either one of these features (or both working together) can be used to help gamers who are deaf or hard of hearing and/or cannot or choose not to speak to participate in Xbox Party Chat without special accommodation from others in the party,” Xbox said in the announcement of the new features. 

“They are also generally useful for detecting microphone problems or distinguishing game audio from people in the party talking!”

These features previously were available in regular game chat mode, but now are available for Party Chat mode, in which multiple players can play a game together and talk to each other while doing so. 

To use the new accessibility features, go to Settings, then click Ease of Access, then allow Speech-to-text and/or Text-to-speech. 

Other accessibility features Xbox has available to gamers include an adaptive controller, custom button mapping, magnifier zooms, closed captions, and more. 

More and more tech companies have been incorporating accessibility features lately. Instagram now auto-captions Stories by simply adding a sticker, and YouTube announced it is testing automatic translations in a user’s native language

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