May 19th's Global Accessibility Awareness Day is an an annual event 'to get people talking, thinking and learning about digital accessibility and users with different disabilities'. It runs across all industries, and this year saw a big increase in the game industry's involvement. Taking part can mean any level of involvement, all the way from a #gaad tweet to a conversation at work, going mouse-less for a day, all the way through to organising awareness raising events.
I usually chip in with a talk or two. This year I had one on mobile accessibility at Nordic Game and one on the past year's advances as part of ID24. I've also been keeping an eye out for game accessibility related tweets, articles and so on, and have listed the ones I've come across below. I've also posted separately about some of my favourite quotes from the day.
Seeing the big increase on last year (including companies like Microsoft, Sony, Naughty Dog, Turtle Rock and Harmonix getting involved) has really been quite something, it can only lead to good things.
Sony also put out the Uncharted overview video separately, which has seen a huge amount of interest from players of all level of ability and some decent press coverage too, raising bucketloads of awareness, which is of course what the day is all about. At time of posting there are around 70k views, and quite incredibly for youtube, almost universally positive comments left on it. And Tara Voelker of Turtle Rock put out a twitch stream about accessibility in Evolve, which is archived here:
And last but not least, a non-exhaustive collection of gamedev related tweets that went out under the #gaad hashtag
It's Global Accessibility Awareness Day. If you're developing a game, stop and think about that for a bit. What can you do?— Iteration D (@drewmtaylor) May 19, 2016
It's Global Accessibility Awareness Day. Accessibility in games is something we're tackling head-on in our health-themed first issue. #GAAD— Castle (@Castle_Magazine) May 19, 2016
It's #GAAD2016. Let's talk about how we can make gaming more inclusive and accessible to all.— GameHubHQ.com (@GameHub_HQ) May 19, 2016
Today is Global Accessibility Awareness Day. I want to give a shoutout to the game industry, the last year has shown how inclusive it can be— Craig Kaufman (@craigums) May 19, 2016
The attitudes from games industry have gone from "who cares" five years ago to today's "how can we help" #GAAD— Craig Kaufman (@craigums) May 19, 2016
While all of this is great in itself, it's a symptom of something larger.
No matter which way you look at gaming, whether it is the doors finally being open on accessibility in consoles and engines, the level of implementation in games, the number of talks at CSUN and average attendance at GDC accessibility talks, attitudes amongst the gaming community... they all paint the same picture, which is that accessibility in gaming is on an exponential curve.
But it isn't a given, we can't be complacent. We have to keep that momentum going. GAAD is only one day of the year, we need to keep on with this for the 364 too, keep the conversation going, keep letting people know that this matters.
The more people do that, the more lasting change we'll see, and the more studios and gamers will be able to benefit from all that accessibility in games brings.
Reposted from personal blog