Microsoft Gaming Accessibility Testing Service
Passion for game accessibility has grown exponentially among developers and players alike in the past decade. Microsoft estimates that there are ~450 million players with disabilities globally, so we’re heartened to see that game developers are actively seeking out resources that guide inclusive game design to ensure that their games are fun for everyone who wants to play!
The Microsoft Game Accessibility Testing Service (MGATS) is an optional program through which game developers and publishers of Xbox and PC titles can submit their products for secure, confidential accessibility testing conducted by accessibility subject matter experts and players with disabilities.
About testing and reports
Testing is performed against the Xbox Accessibility Guidelines (XAGs). These guidelines, developed in partnership with industry experts and the Gaming & Disability Community, serve many purposes. The XAGs can be used to generate ideas during design, as guardrails during development, and act as a testing checklist to help ensure games are inclusive for those with disabilities.
Each test report consists of four key elements:
Accessibility Highlights – Those aspects of the game that make the game more accessible for players with disabilities.
Players with Disabilities Feedback – In the spirit of “nothing about us without us,” multiple players with disabilities from across a spectrum of different categories of disability provide detailed feedback on their personal experience with the game in both quantitative and qualitative ways.
Concerns – Areas of the game that fail to meet the guidelines outlined in the Xbox Accessibility Guidelines, recorded in a “bug”-like format with reproduction steps, expected results, actual results, and video / screenshot examples.
Resources – A regularly updated list of additional resources developers can use to help them on their accessibility journey, including links to Gaming & Disability non-profits, industry events focusing on accessibility, assistive hardware solutions, information regarding the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, accessible game design, and more.
Once delivered, developers and publishers have the option to review the report with an industry-recognized Microsoft gaming accessibility expert to answer any questions they may have.
To learn how to submit your product through MGATs, contact Xbox Partner Accessibility Questions (email@example.com).
Is this service only for Xbox / Windows titles? Will other platforms be supported?
Currently, Xbox and PC platforms are supported. Other platforms may be able to be supported on a case-by-case basis. Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
What is the cost of the service?
There is a cost for the service which is determined based on the complexity of a game. Games with a single game mode and no multiplayer communication have a lower cost, while those with multiple game modes and/or multiplayer community have additional costs. For more information on pricing, please contact email@example.com.
Interest in feedback from Players with Disabilities only?
As of Oct 10, 2022, the MGATS program has created a second offering, MGATS – Players with Disabilities Focus. This new program focuses on gathering feedback from Players with Disabilities (PwDs) testers. It will cover core functional scenarios of a game such as golden path, settings, navigation, and in-game communication services. The areas of disabilities covered are Vision, Hearing, Speech, Mobility and Cognition. Depending on the nature of the game, the mix of PwD testers will vary.
Their comprehensive findings will include:
- user impact
- reproduction steps
- suggested solutions
- annotated screenshots
- identification of the associated Xbox Accessibility Guideline (XAG)
The only difference from the original MGATS is that this new offering is centered around core functional scenarios performed solely by Players with Disabilities. The original MGATS is driven by Xbox Accessibility Guidelines performed by a mix of accessibility subject matter experts and Players with Disabilities.
Can games be tested pre/post-release?
While Microsoft encourages to submit their products early in development process (ideally, once a stable, representative vertical slice is available), testing can take place any time before or after a title is released.
How soon can you start testing?
Depending on test volumes, testing usually starts 1-2 business days after receiving a title.
How long does testing take?
We endeavor to deliver reports within 7 business days of the start of testing.
Is there a limit how many times a specific title can go through this service?
There is no limit to how many times a product can go through the testing service.
Do I have to fix the issues that around found during this testing?
There is no requirement that developers fix any issues found.
Is this a replacement for Certification testing?
No. No Certification testing is done as part of MGATs.