Gaming & Disability: International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2022
Started in 1992 by the United Nations General Assembly, International Day of Persons with Disabilities aims to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society. It’s mission is to increase awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.
What is the theme for International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2022?
The theme aims to open up conversations around disability inclusive developments in employment opportunities, in reducing inequality, and in general across culture, whether it’s competing in sports or playing video games.
Why Are We Talking About it?
Maybe you’ve been spending too much time catching all the Pokémon the Paldea region has to offer in Pokémon Scarlet & Violet this week, but there’s only one answer to this: because it’s important.
We’ve been empowering gamers since 1999 and that stretches beyond LED streaming microphones and world class charging solutions; it’s about caring for our community and creating safe spaces to talk about the things that matter, that might feel taboo, through what we love: video games.
It's not the first time we’ve touched on these kinds of topics either. If you’d like to educate yourself further, you can visit any of our blogs on:
- Gaming & Schizophrenia
- Gaming & Dementia
- Gaming & Grief
- World Mental Health Day 2022: Mental Health & Gaming
- Depression & Gaming
- Blue Monday – Gaming for Happiness
- How Gaming Can Tell Important Stories
- World Children’s Day 2022
The State of Gaming & Disability in 2022
Our world is massive. And there’s a lot of us populating it– 8 billion to be exact. And over 1 billion of us have some form of disability. Let’s not forget that 3 billion of us are actively playing video games, too.
Most of us look forward to an evening of gaming after a long day at work or school. But for some of us, it’s not so easy. According to disability equality charity SCOPE’s Accessibility In Gaming Report, 66% of gamers with impairments or conditions say they face barriers relating to gaming, and 40% of disabled gamers have bought games they haven’t been able to play due to poor accessibility.
The most common barrier disabled gamers face daily is the affordability of assistive technology, followed by the knowledge or time required to set it up. Along with that, consoles and games can be inaccessible for some gamers, making it even harder to pick up and play.
Sadly, 2 in 5 gamers have experienced negative attitudes from other gamers relating to their disabilities, resulting in some of them playing less.
But it’s not all bad news for gaming and disability. The past few years have been pivotal in the industry’s embracement of developing disability inclusive gaming. So, to celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2022 and do our bit, here’s just some of the great things going on in gaming.
The rise of accessibly designed player experiences
Designing accessible games shouldn’t be so difficult, should it? According to studio’s like Witch Beam, True Crime Games and Uppercut Games – no, it shouldn’t.
Take Witch Beam’s indie-zen puzzler Unpacking, where you literally unpack boxes and place your earthly possessions across your new home.Winning the Excellence In Accessibility award at the 2021 Australian GameDeveloper’s Awards, Unpacking does away with timers and scoring charts, opting for meditative gameplay. These design choices mean there’s no pressure for gamers on how long they take, or how well they solve the puzzles, it’s simply fun.
Better yet, to help make God of War Ragnarök as accessible as possible, the game designers at Santa Monica Studio used feedback on previous accessibility work they’d done from the God of War community to ensure the features they were adding – like block toggles and aim toggle – were benefiting their players. Since then, they’ve implemented over 60 different accessibility features.
The development of accessible hardware
What’s the point in creating accessible games, if some gamers still can’t play them thanks to the consoles and controllers themselves? Thankfully, Microsoft have made headways with the release of the Xbox Adaptive Controller, made for gamers with limited mobility.
The Adaptive Controller allows players to connect external devices such as switches, buttons, mounts, and joysticks to create a custom controller experience that suits their individual needs. Everything from the controller itself to the box it came in was designed with input from The AbleGamersCharity, The Cerebral Palsy Foundation, SpecialEffect, and Warfighter Engaged, so it was community-driven, too.
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