Xbox introduces Party Chat text-to-speech transcripts

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Elia Tabuenca García
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Xbox has added new accessibility features for Xbox Insiders through new text-to-speech and speech-to-text options, with widespread implementation coming soon.

A new feature of Xbox allows people with hearing or speech impairments to communicate effectively with their friends. The new Xbox feature allows gamers to enable text-to-speech and voice-to-text for group chat, giving a new level of accessibility to the platform beyond in-game settings.  

The gaming industry has gradually made everything more and more accessible, and while there is more work to be done, it is a step in the right direction. Xbox released its adaptive controller in 2018, providing initial support for gamers with disabilities. There are several pieces of third-party hardware to help meet various needs, but the adaptive controller was one of the first from a real platform holder, encouraging developers to build their games with the controller in mind. Xbox will take it a step further with a new update.

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Xbox introduced a new way to communicate through new text-to-speech and speech-to-text options. The features are currently only available to Xbox Insiders, but will come to everyone in the near future. The text-to-speech option translates what players are saying into an adjustable on-screen overlay, and the speech-to-text option reads text messages back to the party. Eligible players can enable this in the "Ease of Access" menu in Xbox settings.

Developers like Naughty Dog have made huge strides in accessibility, adding incredibly deep settings that cater to a variety of shortcomings in all areas, from customizable difficulty settings to helping blind players. It shows that games are becoming more inclusive and there are large-scale efforts to ensure that the ever-evolving medium doesn't contain too many people. It seems likely that Xbox will continue to delve deeper and deeper into innovating its accessibility offerings in a variety of ways, hopefully signaling to developers and platform owners like Nintendo to do the same as well.

These system-wide features are incredibly important and given Xbox's extremely talented team, it wouldn't be surprising if the company were able to expand its support for visual assistants to help blind gamers. With accessibility through features, lowering Xbox paywalls and more, it's great to see such a large company helping to lead such a huge and crucial initiative that will have a ripple effect across the industry at large. After seeing the innovations made in the last generation, it will be fascinating to see what companies like  Xbox  are able to achieve by the end of this generation.

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