Accessibility and Kinect for Xbox 360

Overview

Find the answers to frequently asked questions about accessibility and Kinect for Xbox 360.

On this page

Can people with disabilities play Kinect?

At Microsoft, we believe that interactive entertainment should be enjoyed by as many people as possible. We recognize that each person has unique abilities, and not all users will be able to play all of the titles available for Kinect for Xbox 360 because of the inherent physical nature of the gameplay. A number of titles available for Kinect for Xbox 360 can be played by users with various physical and sensory impairments. In an effort to continually improve the Kinect experience, we actively seek feedback on how we can improve our Kinect and Xbox technology for all users. We continue to use this feedback as we work on future versions of Kinect technology. We have made technical improvements since the Kinect technology was first released, broadening our gameplay to include some players who were previously unable to enjoy Kinect. As new technologies like Kinect for Xbox 360 become available, improvements based on feedback can be made with each new edition released.

I’m in a wheelchair, or need to sit all the time. Can I play Kinect?

Seated users can enjoy various features and games developed for Kinect for Xbox 360. Currently, the ability for Kinect to work with seated users is largely dependent on the game itself. Some games are more accommodating of seated users than others. Game developers do have the ability to design their games in such a way that activities that some users have trouble with can be skipped or completed in a different way. To that end, we are educating game publishers on this point at various development events to provide an entertaining gaming experience to a broad audience. Navigating the Dashboard and enjoying controller-free entertainment features on Xbox Live, such as Xbox Music and Video Kinect, are experiences that can be enjoyed while seated or standing. The Xbox 360 Dashboard also includes several apps that are compatible with a seated user experience.

Which Kinect games and features can I use while seated or in a wheelchair?

What can I do to make my seated Kinect experience better?

Other than your initial Kinect calibration, you don’t need to do anything to play the games listed above.

To get the most enjoyment out of using Kinect, consider the following factors:

  • Chairs. Smaller wheelchairs, such as hospital-style chairs or racing chairs, seem to work best with Kinect.
    Also, large protruding arm-rests (such as the control arm on some larger motorized wheelchairs) may inhibit recognition by Kinect, as the infrared sensor might recognize them as the arms of another user. Try to reposition these arm-rests so they’re out of the sensor’s view.
  • Kinect placement. For best recognition when seated, position the Kinect Sensor at seated chest level or slightly higher; do not place the sensor lower than seated chest level.
  • Lighting. Make sure that the room in which you are playing has adequate lighting.
  • Surfaces. Shiny surfaces may cause problems for Kinect. Consider covering any reflective surface on your chair.

I'm an amputee. Can I play Kinect games?

If you're an Xbox 360 user with one arm, you can expect varying degrees of success with Kinect, depending on your situation.

  • If the amputation of your arm is above the elbow and you're not wearing a prosthetic arm, Kinect may have difficulty mapping your skeleton. Kinect identifies players by searching for a specified shape—in this case two arms, two legs, and a head—and recognizes that shape as a skeleton. Such mapping is necessary to discern differences between the user and other shapes within the user’s environment (such as a couch, chair, or coffee table). Without all of those skeletal indicators, Kinect may assume that what it's looking at is not a skeleton or that its view of a limb is blocked.
  • If the amputation of your arm is below the elbow or if you use a "realistic-looking" prosthesis, Kinect should be able to map your skeleton.
  • If you're using a partial or mechanical prosthesis, any shiny or reflective surfaces may cause minor problems with skeletal mapping. If such problems occur, try to cover any reflective surfaces to increase the chances of successful mapping and gameplay.

If you're an Xbox 360 user with a prosthetic leg, you should be able to play any Kinect game for which you have the appropriate mobility and range of motion.

  • Kinect mapping is based on visual cues, so a "realistic-looking" prosthetic leg should be recognized similarly to a natural leg. If you're wearing a pair of pants over your prosthetic leg, Kinect should recognize your body shape and allow you to play any game for which you have the appropriate mobility and range of motion.
  • If you're using a more mechanical-type prosthesis without trousers, any shiny or reflective surfaces may cause minor problems with skeletal mapping. If such problems occur, try to cover any reflective surfaces in an effort to increase the chances of successful mapping and gameplay.
  • If you use a walking aid such as a cane, Kinect may view the walking aid as an extension of your actual arm rather than a separate object and have corresponding difficulty mapping your arm movements.

Does Kinect support sign language?

At present, Kinect does not support sign language as a form of command input to the sensor.

Will I be able to use Kinect speech recognition?

With the release of the latest Dashboard update, updates have been made to the Kinect speech recognition feature. These updates should improve hands-free navigation through the Xbox Dashboard, as well as with the cloud searching feature for supported countries/regions and languages. With these updates, the following countries/regions and languages support Kinect speech recognition:

Locale

Language

Australia

English

Canada

English

Canada

French

Brazil

Portuguese

Austria

German

France

French

Germany

German

Ireland

English

Italy

Italian

Japan

Japanese

Mexico

Spanish

New Zealand

English

Spain

Spanish

Switzerland

German

Switzerland

French

United Kingdom

English

United States

English

I have impaired speech or an accent. Will Kinect speech recognition work for me?

In an effort to deliver the appropriate response to user commands, Kinect's voice recognition is designed to respond to specific speech patterns. This feature helps limit the number of unintentional on-screen responses from environmental sounds (dogs barking, phones ringing, etc.). This can affect Kinect's ability to track and respond to sounds and voices that it is unable to map to the Kinect multilingual database of recognized spoken commands. Kinect has tackled some amazing technological challenges since its release in 2010, and we believe consumers will be delighted with the latest updates available this season, including enhanced voice recognition that will allow gameplay to be possible for more users than ever before. We have been working hard to find ways to overcome some of the challenges that face Kinect users and, as the technology evolves, ideas impeded by obstacles often become more feasible to implement.

I have a hearing impairment. Is closed captioning for videos and movies available through my Xbox?

Closed captioning on the Xbox is currently available only on select streaming and downloadable content in the Xbox Video marketplace in the United States.

How does Microsoft focus on accessibility with Kinect?

In an effort to continually improve the Kinect experience, we engage with the accessibility community to help us improve our Kinect and Xbox technology for all users through our Xbox 360 Accessibility Information email alias and events like the “Kinect Accessibility Roundtable." Assistive technologies and accessibility features of the Kinect for Xbox 360 make navigation and gameplay easier and more comfortable for Kinect users. With speech recognition and enhanced skeletal tracking, the Kinect experience can now be enjoyed by more users than ever before. We are also educating publishers at various development events on how to design their titles to reach a broader audience, including those users with physical and sensory impairments and those with unique game play needs.

Where does accessibility fit into the greater mission of Microsoft?

Microsoft leads the industry in innovation for accessibility through our commitment to empower and enable people of all abilities and to help people and businesses throughout the world realize their full potential. We consider our mission statement a promise to our customers and deliver on that promise by striving to create technology that is accessible to everyone.

How does Microsoft accomplish these goals?

Microsoft demonstrates its understanding of and commitment to accessibility by considering the accessibility of our products at all stages of product planning, research and development, product development, and testing. We collaborate with stakeholders around the world and build strong relationships with technology partners, governments, and organizations that advocate on behalf of people with disabilities. Microsoft also supports global policy agendas that promote broader digital inclusion at regional, national, and international levels.

Where can I learn more about Microsoft and its commitment to accessibility?

Visit the Microsoft Accessibility website.

I would like to speak to someone at Microsoft about my accessibility situation with Kinect. Whom can I talk to?

Contact us by email at xaccess@microsoft.com and one of our team members will gladly answer your question or direct you to the most appropriate person on the Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360 team.

Was this article helpful?

Yes
No

Thank you for your feedback

Thanks for your feedback!

We're sorry this article didn't solve your problem. We won't give up and neither should you. Try this community option, below.
Get help from the community
Ambassador chat image
Ambassador chat
Chat one on one with a fellow Xbox User who wants to help.

Provide feedback for this topic

255 characters remain.
To protect your privacy, please do not include contact information in your feedback.
Get help from the community
Ambassador chat image
Ambassador chat
Chat one on one with a fellow Xbox User who wants to help.

Contact Us

Would you like to contact Support regarding the "Accessibility and Kinect for Xbox 360" issue you were reading about or a different issue?