1 (edited by ianhamilton_ 2017-03-03 16:26:50)

Xbox have implemented a text to speech API for game developers. As of now, game developers can choose to add text to speech to in-game menus and elements.

It doesn't work automatically, but it is fairly straightforward.. send a piece of text out to the API and the Xbox will read it out according to the player's narrator preferences. Unless the developer wants to choose a specific voice to fit with their game, in which case it uses that.

So if you know of any games that are mostly accessible but crying out for some voiced menus, now is a good time to ask the developers. Xbox will work with them to make it happen.

If you know a developer who is interested and wants to speak to Xbox just let me know via [email protected] or @ianhamilton_ on twitter, I can introduce them to the right people.

*happy dance*

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sony, eat your heart out

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[wow]... Thanks for sharing this. I really hope a lot of developers will include this feature.
This would make the Telltale games much more accessible. I will contact them this weekend and hope the best. It's difficult to believe how much this might change things in the future.

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Well, this is good news indeed! Sony is practically out of the race at this point... and unfortunately, it seems like they just don't care. Now the question is, which developers will be willing to implement this into their games???

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this could totally open up the amount of playable games if utilised correctly.  that's what excites me so much.

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Okay I'm definitely intrigued....I now am seriously considering getting an XXB1 now...and I've always been a Sony guy but now....unless Sony does something similar for a European spec PS4.....nah. I may just give MS a shot. After all I can hook it all up to my MS account and go from here. Simples.

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Freaking awesome news indddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddeed! I'm going to tweet Tyler and Derick about this and hopefully they respond.

Don't bother with Boon. He seems to always ignore anything since he constantly gets bombarded with tweets. The future looks bright for gaming in general!

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Mind... broken. Welp. Time to get that new Xbox1 I've not wanted to get until like 5 seconds ago.

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Sorry folks, but i dont think anyone will be interested in this. Look at all the games for PC. almost no one implemented a speach output yet. Even it is allready possible for 6 or 7 years.

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Game suggestions:
Killer Instinct, no brainer really.
Netherrealm games although rattlehead is already tweeting, that doesn't mean we shouldn't join in too but don'tbombard them. So games: mkx, injustice 2
Now, a few curveballs:
Hand of Fate series
Magic the gathering series, I don't know what the games are called though, if it's magic duel or what it is.
A bit of a stretch, but what about Banner Sarga?

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There's also a yu-gi-oh game that I'd love to see be made accessible. I'd lose my mind.

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As firefly said, before everyone gets excited, one should think about how many developers will want to take the time to do it. I'm excited as well, but this isn't just going to happen over night... but the future looksbright indeed! that having been said, I will not boycott sony and their consoles... because at the end of the day, the games themselves are what matters... at worse, I'll have both. the ps4 has some great exclusives that xbox1 doesn't have... lol

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Diablo. I mean it's already beatable withouth the spoken menue, but it'd be really nice to be able to optamise and craft gear without gamestreaming the game over to windows and using OCR to read things

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I'm still happy this is a thing but I don't expect the big dogs to use it. I expect the indie devs to use it however. I'm expecting this to initially at least, be the preserve of indie devs who care about more than just numbers and sales units.

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Agreed.

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Exodus wrote:

Diablo. I mean it's already beatable withouth the spoken menue, but it'd be really nice to be able to optamise and craft gear without gamestreaming the game over to windows and using OCR to read things

diablo is playable? [wow].

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[wow], how is diablo playable?

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Is it generaly possible to use an OCR in games? Or game menues? I never tryed this.

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Hopefully the rest of the big players follow suit... and the developers of games take advantage of this. Imagine if TTS output was possible in Pokemon- I'd turn it on probably.

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20 (edited by ianhamilton_ 2017-03-05 00:51:20)

"if I understand the new FCC regulations correctly Nintendo isn't even being pressured too much into implementing text to speech as the regulations apply to devices that allow you to watch movies/TV, browse the web and I think communicate with people. "

Not quite. They aren't FCC regulations, it's USA federal law, passed in 2010, and applicable to games consoles since 2015. FCC just have responsibility for enforcement.

The bit that applies to games consoles is communication. However the way that the switch handles communication - team chat etc - is to remove it from the console itself, and do it all through a smartphone app. Which means that the core console team have zero legal accessibility responsibilities, and the mobile app team have only a few, as a fair few of the requirements are handled by the mobile operating system anyway.

Of course not having legal requirements does not mean there is no reason to include accessibility functionality, far from it. Much of what both the PS4 and XB1 have has nothing to do with legal compliance, they both seem to genuinely want to provide good experiences for people with disabilities.

It's not like accessibility on consoles is some new alien thing. It's just a simple choice that Nintendo need to make of whether or not they care about and prioritise the market of gamers with disabilities.

The disability landscape in Japan is changing very quickly.. perhaps that might have some impact further down the line. Nintendo have done great things for accessibility in the past, perhaps there is more to come in the future. I hope so.

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As others have said best not to get too excited.. all it is is a way in, it isn't a guarantee that any developers will actually use the functionality.

But having said that, it is simple functionality for developers to use. So if you know of any games that would be mechanically suited to blind accessibility it's worth having a chat with the developers, as once there are existing games on the console that use the functionality it'll be easier for other developers to just have a play, see how it works for themselves and copy what they've done.

The dream would be for it to be implemented at engine level, so that for example every game made using Unity or Unreal just mostly works with it by default, in the same way as native iOS development. But that's further down the line, for that too the first step is to have some nicely working examples of live games on the xbox store that have implemented it.

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How are games played by blind people on an X Box? Do you connect headphones to it, or what? Do most games now a days have positional audio like the audio games do?

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@Ian: do you have an idea of what games could work with this? I was thinking for current support, Killer Instinct, but the stretch might be the Magic the Gathering series because I don't know if it's still being developed.

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Perfect game for this, hand of fait. Dungeon crawling CCG, mostly menu based and combat is perfectly doable. This needs it badly.

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just about all of the Isometric dungeon crawlers would see a huge boost in their playability through this. I can't say for sure as far as path of exile goes, because I haven't gotten round to trying that one yet

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