Global Accessibility Awareness Day is event that takes place on the third Thursday of every May, with the goal of raising awareness about digital accessibility. Every successive year the games industry has been embracing it to ever greater levels.
In 2023 this has continued, with some events even spanning the surrounding weeks too. Some of the efforts are not public knowledge, companies holding private internal initiatives, individuals sending emails around their teams, and so on. But many are public knowledge.
If you’d like to get involved but haven’t planned anything, it’s not too late! Even just sharing your favourite talk or article with your followers or colleagues makes a difference. Here are two great links to share:
Playlist of GAconf talks by disabled people talking about their lived experience
Free game accessibility training, an online course developed by Microsoft
As the day goes on I’ll be updating this page and trying to keep track of as much as I can, but there will be some that I have missed. Drop me a line on twitter if you know of anything that isn’t on here yet!
Stream with Joanna Blackhart and Cerebral Paul
Video showcase on Carlito, who worked with AG Peer Counselors to get set up to play Roblox, WorldofWarships & the many other games he wants to play
AccessJam, an annual month long jam to raise awareness, starting on GAAD. This year’s theme is ‘community’.
Preview of a range of upcoming iOS functionality, including simple UI mode and the ability to map accessibility switches to a virtual game controller.
Behind The Screens
Podcast episode featuring Melanie Eilert
Announcement of Accessibility@Bend, an initiative led up by passionate developers within multiple disciplines around the studio
Unveiling of Diablo IV’s accessibility suite
Sneak peak at beta prototypes of the Proteus modular controller
Launch of the British Sign Language Gaming Glossary (BSLGG)
Can I Play That? and DAGERsystem
Announcement of the CIPT Editors’ Choices, the DAGERSystem Barrier Breaker Award, and the DAGERSystem Diamond Award
Update on accessibility improvements to the CIPT site
Draw & Code
Showcase of internal practices, and publicly available webinar from Jamie Knight
Internal fireside chat, of studio champions coming together to discuss designing games with accessibility in mind. With Christian Cimon of Motive, Jordan DeVries of Respawn, Vivian Ortenzi of Ripple Effect, and Alan Pimm of Criterion.
Full day streamathon from ESG’s disabled stream team, of gaming, giveaways, and good times
Talk series from Steve Saylor, Kyle Abbate, RAyna Anderson, Kasper Hartman, Michelle Garza and Ameliane Chiasson
Fortnite ASL emote and accessibility backbling
Inside Unreal panel on developing accessible games, with Carlos Coronado, Coty Craven, Kait Paschall, and Tina Wisdom
Live stream exploring TTRPG accessibility
Talk by Yoshiko Uchiyama of Sony on the efforts towards and history of accessibility support for PlayStation
Showcasing a selection of articles on accessibility of video games
Twitch stream with Grant Stoner
Quadstick Jedi Survivor stream
Hyper Luminal Games
Preview of high contrast mode coming to Pine Hearts
The 6th edition of the annual GAAD game accessibility trivia quiz
Podcast with Grant Stoner about his journey into journalism, the evolution of gaming accessibility and more
Creator roundtable featuring RoryPlays, DeafGamersTV and Steven Spohn
Showcase of accessibility considerations across two partner games: Spiderman and Guardians of the Galaxy
Announcement of Media Molecule’s Accessibility Champions Program – a group of Molecules focusing on making sure accessibility and inclusivity is at the heart of all of their work.
PlayStation / Sony
First look at new images and UI of the Access Controller for PS5 (formerly known as Project Leonardo)
Video showcase of PlayStation’s work across games, hardware and OS
Blog post by Mark Friend
Sony-wide accessibility video featuring Sam Schafell and Brian Allgeier
Sony CEO Kenshiro Yoshida showcasing the PlayStation storefront’s accessibility tags and Project Leonardo
Usage data on accessibility features in Sniper Elite 5, including 95% for subtitles
Linked-in stream by Cari Watterton sharing lessons from Rebellion’s accessibility journey
In-house blind accessibility demo session by SightlessKombat
Alt text guide and contest
Killer Instinct stream with SightlessKombat, playing against a fellow gamer without sight and chatting about accessibility from that perspective
Article on online gaming has given disabled gamer Rose ‘a new way to experience life’
She Plays Games
Podcast episode with Tara Voelker of Xbox
Twitter thread outlining accessibility considerations that are helpful to him as a gamer without sight
Showcase of Moving Out’s assist mode, and announcement of Moving Out 2 accessibility showcase
Soft Leaf Studios
Accessibility update for Stories of Blossom
Finding a way to play for Elliot, a buy with quadriplegic cerebral palsy
Square Enix (West)
Watch parties of GAConf EU talks from Ian Hamilton, “News Update” and Jamie Knight + Lion, “Can I do that?” https://twitter.com/RodrigoSanchez/status/1659507914283819009
Steve Saylor & Leah Jewer
Xbox Passport episode focussing on blind accessibility in Forza, with Tara Voelker
Super Rare Games
Thread on what publishers can do to ensure accessibility of marketing/PR materials
Development update on indie audiogame “Rocococo – Audiogame Fantastique”
Third Kind Games
Post on internal accessibility practices
First of a regular stream series called “Accessibility in Action”, highlighting the accessibility within Ubisoft titles as well as giving a platform to accessibility creators and community. The first episode is Far Cry 6 with Kennedie Griggs.
University of Southern California
Virtual chat and Q&A with Morgan Baker of EA
Thread on accessibility in TTRPGs
Xbox Plays Twitch stream exploring accessibility in Jedi Survivor, with Tara Voelker and Jordan DeVries
Post showcasing recent advances, and announcing that 18,000 Xbox Ambassadors have collectively completed over one million Accessibility Explorer Path missions, new support pages, and the launch of accessibility tag filtering & searching on the Xbox store website
Ambassador community spotlights
Major Nelson Xbox Podcast episode with James Berg, to chat about GAAD and James’ personal Xbox journey
And a couple of quotes to finish on –
Accessibility is not an add-on. Integrate it into everything you do.
– Conor Bradley, Soft Leaf Studios
The most important part of my job is listening to disabled gamers and advocating for their needs, even if the road to fully inclusive games is long and hard.
– Elisabeth Whyte, Bethesda