This Month: Accessibility in Gaming

You're likely aware of the increase in popularity of video games in the last few years, particularly with the availability of games on mobile devices. However you might not know that an estimated 52% of the online population play games and recent predictions suggest that by 2021 the UK gaming market will be worth £5.2bn - making it one of Europe’s largest markets and the fifth largest in the world.

It's no surprise then, that as digital accessibility specialists many of us at AbilityNet are passionate about the technology in video games. We hope you will also be interested in this information, and for that reason we've focussed our comms this month on accessibility in gaming. We've shared some highlights from what's coming up this month below and details of how you can stay up-to-date.

What's Coming Up

This month we'll be sharing an interview with Ian Hamilton, an accessibility specialist and advocate working to raise the bar for accessibility in the gaming industry.

Ian Hamilton Twitter profile imageIan talked about how game accessibility is different to other sectors - "To meet the definition of 'game' there must be some kind of ruleset and challenge, and any kind of challenge will be an accessibility barrier for some people. If you remove the challenge what you're left with is no longer a game, it's a toy or a narrative."

He also shared what triggered his interest in video game accessibility - "It was seeing playtesting footage of preschool games that had been adapted to work with a single accessibility switch. Seeing kids who would otherwise have been passive participants in the classroom as a result laughing, playing, doing the same thing as their classmates, being equal participants in society."


We've been catching up with SpecialEffect, the self-described gamers' charity that helps people with disabilities play video games. Back in 2015 they were announced as winner of the AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards Accessibility Award. We spoke to them about the new free software they've released this year called EyeMine, which enables people with physical disabilities to play Minecraft using just their eyes.

Man using assistive technology to play a video game

Photo credit: SpecialEffect technology being used to play a video game via tech4goodawards.com


We also asked our Accessibility and Usability Consultants to share their thoughts on accessibility in gaming and have posted a blog about the 5 ways accessibility in video games is evolving. Like most digital sectors the championing of inclusive design in video games has been ongoing and becoming more prominent in recent years. In-game features that may have originally been developed for users with disabilities are now having an overwhelmingly positive effect on all players. We've looked at 5 developments in video game accessibility and discussed how accessibility in gaming is different to other sectors.

Way of the Passive Fists in-game screen capture of combat

Photo credit: Way of the Passive Fists in-game screen capture via venturebeat.com

Find Out More

We'll be sharing content throughout the month about accessibility in gaming, so make sure you're on our mailing list and are following us on social media to stay-up-to-date and get notified when we publish.

Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest accessibility news and information from AbilityNet.

Like the AbilityNet Facebook page or follow AbilityNet on Twitter to get notified when we publish new stories on our website and to join the conversation about how digital technology can help older people and people with disabilities achieve their goals at home, at work and in education.

Interested in a career in digital accessibility? View current vacancies in our Accessibility Services team.

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