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Microsoft Trialling Xbox Party Accessibility Features

Microsoft is pushing to improve its accessibility features in Xbox Party Chat with a new update for Insiders, testing the waters before a fully-fledged release. Starting today, Insiders can access text-to-speech and speech-to-text transcriptions.

As seen in the picture above, the party chat is being displayed on the top right with a faded black background to make the white text easier to read, with different colors for each speaker and a title to represent who is speaking. This will make it easier for those hard of hearing to use party chat to speak with friends.

The two new additions are located in the “ease of access” tab within the “game and chat transcription” section. Speech-to-text transcription does what is pictured above while text-to-speech reads anything typed in the party chat with various selectable voices in several languages.

These features have been present in a few games in the past, but now, through Insiders, it’s being tested on a system-wide scale through Xbox Party directly. As seen in Larry Hryb’s tweet, accessing these options is fairly intuitive.

As for the quality of the text, it holds up fairly well to the standards of Can I Play That?’s guide. Subtitles are white, making them easy to read, and not in all-caps, with a background for “low contrast situations.” However, there doesn’t appear to be an option for text size specifically in regards to the new accessibility feature or a toggle for the background, or a slider for its opacity.

The new transcription features also sport the aforementioned speaker labels to make it clear who is talking which will be vital in the case that there are more than two party members. Perhaps even more options and tweaks will appear over the course of its implementation in Insiders before it rolls out to the public at large, For now, Xbox is moving forward with its text-to-speech and speech-to-text features for Party chat, helping those hard of hearing.

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