On 13 November, Trailblazers gathered in Parliament to host the latest APPG for Young Disabled People. The focus of this meeting was on access to gaming, following our most recent report Changing the Game.
The investigation found that when it comes to gaming and accessibility, there are gaps which prevent some young disabled people from being able to take part. This could be through making games incompatible with assistive technology, by assistive technology being too expensive for gamers to afford and by ignoring basic accessibility features like ability to change font size.
- Over one-third could not play video games because of their disability
- Almost 60% of young disabled people said gaming was their favourite or regular past-time due to limited access to other leisure activities
- Over two-thirds of young disabled people said gaming gave them the ability to compete with others at an equal level
- Almost 90% of young disabled people play videogames
- Over half of young disabled people said gaming gives them interaction with others
The meeting was chaired by Heidi Allen MP who did a fantastic job at producing a lively and engaging discussion. We had great panellists who were really well informed on the subject. They included:
- Hector Minto, Senior Accessibility Evangelist, Microsoft
- Kieren Mayers, Director of Environment and Technical Compliance, Sony
- Mark Friend, Senior User Researcher, Sony
- Ian Hamilton, Game Accessibility Specialist and Advocate
The discussion raised from issues around controller accessibility. Attendees had the opportunity to see the new Xbox adapted controller which Trailblazers helped launch. This is a life changing product for disabled people as it’s the first mainstream product aimed at disabled gamers. This product was a perfect one to have at the APPG, which fell on Purple Tuesday, because it shows the power of disabled consumers. We also spoke about how representation of disabled people can be improved in gaming companies, both on and off screen. Lots of other topics were discussed which highlighted barriers we uncovered in our gaming report.
Trailblazer Vicki Dennis, who attended and did the opening speech, said:
I came away from the meeting feeling very positive about how we are going to work with both Sony and Microsoft. The world of gaming is changing and with us pushing it more and more we will see changes very soon.
Lauren West, Trailblazers Manager, said:
The APPG inquiry into gaming was a really great event. The panellists did a fantastic job at explaining the exciting developments in gaming accessibility. There is still a long way to go before accessibility is built into every product and every game but it’s reassuring to know that disabled people’s needs are at the forefront of gaming company’s minds.
Trailblazers has now moved to pan-disability charity Whizz-Kidz (September 2020).