Microsoft is adding a wheelchair option for its Xbox avatars

Microsoft is adding wheelchair options for its Xbox avatars, as well as what look like some visual tweaks. Phil Spencer, the company's Xbox head, confirmed that the wheelchair additions were not "far off," after responding to a question on the subject on Twitter. The company's Mike Ybarra then tweeted a "sneak peek" of the update showing two avatars using distinctly Xbox-themed wheelchairs:

The facial features of the two avatars also appear to be more detailed than those of previous models, suggesting that there are other visual updates on the way. Microsoft first introduced its avatars on the Xbox 360 in 2008, steadily adding more customization options, including branded content from games and companies. It's not clear when the next update for the avatars will be available, but the Xbox itself will be getting its next big update with the release of a new slim version in August.


That’s cool, lots of good things in the next update it seems. Now just tell me about background music and how it’s going to work

Forza Horizon will have custom music from your own playlist. I’m also wondering how that will work.

I imagine the same way it worked on Project Gotham on the original Xbox and then the 360. I’m amazed it wasn’t there from day one.

What about a cane and walker?

Tweet Phil Spencer about it; that’s how wheelchairs got added.

This shows clear use of the hands. Where are the quadriplegic options?

They should have a Hoveround option. Could be great cross-promotion.


I think this is pretty great

Don’t shoot me here, but I genuinely laughed when I saw that image of the two avatars in wheelchairs. It’s just so… absurd-looking? Never seen anything like it before, so it’s just funny at first glance.

Nice option for people in wheelchair though.

Do people in a wheelchair really want to be seen in a wheelchair when they are playing video games?

Try and imagine being a guy that has been sitting in a wheelchair for 10 years and has lost hope of getting out of it in the future. Just try and think that for a minute: all the moments in the day he has to cope with the idea of not being able to do all the stuff pretty much 99% of people consider normal.

Do you still think it’s a "cool choice" for him to use a wheelchair avatar?

I think it’s almost disrespectful to people that have disabilities, considering the fact that Microsoft is doing this only to convince people they care and to get some nice PR for their Xbox BRAND.

Disrespectful? How is recognizing disability disrespectful? It’s all about choice, which is always great. People can choose it or not, but it is not up to Microsoft to decide if it’s "cool" for disabled players to show it online, that would be truly disrespectful.

Recognizing a disability? You mean we need an Xbox avatar to recognize disabilities?

And even if that was really the case (it’s not), what about all the other physical disabilities? Are they gonna feel like they are being left out of the Xbox community now?

There is not one ounce of logic reasoning behind this. Microsoft just wants some good PR, that’s all. And to my eyes, it’s going after it in a very distasteful way,

If someone wants to display his/her avatar in a wheelchair, and especially if it reflects his/her own person, then why not?

I never said we NEED an Xbox avatar to recognize disability. You’re exaggerating. But it goes in the direction of allowing disabled people to model their avatar (supposed to be a reflection of themselves and their personality) as disabled IF THEY WANT TO.

And I fail to see how this is distasteful, they didn’t send a PR release to every news site, they just replied to a concern from a user on Twitter. They aren’t asking for congratulations.

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