Although you might think of the internet as much more accessible space for many people with wheelchairs than the physical world can be, it turns out the digital world isn't always the most wheelchair-friendly, either. But part of that might be changing with new wheelchair avatars for Xbox, which might be on the way soon. Hooray for progress!
Despite the fact that over 3 million American adults use wheelchairs for a wide variety of reasons, wheelchair-users are not particularly well-represented in our culture. People with physical disabilities are rarely portrayed in media, and when they are, they are often reduced to stereotypes. Similarly, more modern forms of media, like video games, don't often make wheelchairs an option. But these potential Xbox avatars might be set to change that.
So far there is no timeline for when users might expect wheelchairs to become available for avatars, but several people at Xbox have suggested this week that making wheelchairs an item option for avatars is in the works. In replying to a thread discussing how feasible adding wheelchairs might be and how users might encourage Xbox to make them available, Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox tweeted, "No petition needed, we hear you. This is something that we've already looked at, not far off."
Even more exciting, Mike Ybarra, the director of program management for Xbox, then chimed in with a "sneak peak" of what those avatars might look like — and what they look like is really cool.
So there you have it, folks! Wheelchairs might be coming to Xbox, which is awesome, because video games are for everyone, and everyone deserves the chance to represent themselves in digital spaces.