Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) is adding a chat transcription feature to its gaming device XBox One. The new feature, which is currently being tested in "Halo Wars 2," is primarily aimed at making its games accessible in group mode. XBox One already has features such as closed captioning and screen readers.
The new feature can be accessed via the "Ease of Access" settings. "Speech-to-text" needs to be enabled to ensure transcription, and a separate "text-to-speech" option enables players to have the screen text read back to them. The system offers a choice of voices to read out the transcription. (See also: The Economics of Gaming Consoles.)
Online tech publication The Verge writes that the feature could also be useful for regular players of XBox One games. "The ability to transcribe other players' voices into text could be useful for gamers who don't want to listen to audio or want to avoid blocking or muting particular players. It's also a great way to capture all of your swearing, or claims of wall hacks during multiplayer games," the publication writes. In addition to garnering new audiences for games, accessibility is also seen as a way to retain older audiences who do not have similar quick reflexes as their younger gamer counterparts. (See also: Microsoft Is Working With GameStop on Streaming.)
Microsoft's gaming division is the biggest contributor to its profits. In recent times, the company has moved to strengthen its position in the market by introducing new services. For example, Microsoft announced at the end of February that it will launch XBox Game Pass, a Netflix-like subscription service, in "late spring 2017." The service will enable gamers to download old games from the XBox library and play them offline, thus avoiding streaming delays during multiplayer games. (See also: GameStop Tanks Over MSFT's 'Netflix for Games'.)