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Xbox launches ASL channel on Twitch

Xbox has launched an American Sign Language (ASL) channel on Twitch, a platform for live video streaming.

In honor of Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) in May, Microsoft’s Xbox launched a Twitch channel for ASL users, according to an official announcement by Microsoft. In partnership with Sorenson, a communications service provider, Xbox developed a channel that hosts 25 hours/week of ASL-interpreted content via livestream.

XboxASL on Twitch

Microsoft’s new channel streams under the tag XboxASL. It’s the second official Xbox channel, running alongside Xbox. Xbox has always been a frontrunner in accessibility and inclusivity. Launching a second channel to cover accessibility goes a long way to highlight this.

XboxASL streams almost every weekday (and some weekends), with on-screen ASL interpretation. Streams last anywhere from an hour to two-and-a-half hours. They are fully covered by ASL interpreters. It’s another significant step forward in video game accessibility. It is just like the abundance of captions in the gaming industry and Forza Horizon’s ASL and British Sign Language (BSL) options.

One of the most popular things viewers will find on the new Xbox ASL channel is Xbox Plays. They will get to see sneak peeks, demos, and behind the scenes content of new and upcoming games. It’s an excellent way to keep in touch with the Xbox community and stay up to date with what’s happening in the gaming world. XboxASL hosts live interviews, Q + A sessions, chats with developers, Xbox features, Esports coverage, event coverage, streamer takeovers, and sneak peeks of new games.

Read more: How sign language interpretation with change gaming

Accessibility in Gaming

The gaming industry has always been among the most inclusive and accessible media industries. With almost everything captioned, and nearly every game offering extensive accessibility suites, video games are showing the world how it should be. The TV and movie industries lag behind, particularly in the captions stakes. Even mainstream news isn’t always offered in accessible formats.

The gaming industry has always been among the most inclusive and accessible media industries.

Read more: How this ASL online video game can benefit deaf teens

However, with channels like XboxASL springing up, and games like Forza Horizon starting to accommodate ASL and BSL, the industry is making leaps and bounds with accessibility. XboxASL brings deaf gamers into the fold, opening up the streaming world and encouraging more of a complete gaming experience.

Players and viewers hope Xbox’s move will set trends, and that consoles like Playstation and Nintendo Switch will add the same options to their online presence. One of the best things about gaming is the community. Without proper sign language coverage, deaf gamers are excluded from this. XboxASL changes all of that.

Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD)

The new channel comes as part of Microsoft’s range of new accessibility features, launched in celebration of Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), according to Microsoft.

Some of the other new features include:

  • Search functionality that allows players to search by accessibility feature in the Xbox store
  • Updated accessibility guidelines to include mental health best practices like information on trigger/content warnings and representation
  • A new gaming accessibility resource hub for developers
  • A new world on Minecraft where students can learn about accessibility and how to identify and eliminate accessibility barriers
  • A second Xbox channel on Twitch, exclusively for streaming ASL-interpreted footage

Watch XBoxASL on Twitch here

Author Details
Mel is a hard-of-hearing writer from the UK. She has moderate-severe hearing loss by American definitions and moderate hearing loss by British measurements. She relies on hearing aids and lipreading. She lives in Wales with her French Bulldog puppy and mischievous tortoiseshell cat. Mel identifies as a demisexual lesbian.