A look at this October’s Games Accessibility Conference

The latest edition of the Games Accessibility Conference took place in Redmond, Washington over the 24th and 25th October. In-person and remote viewing options (hosted primarily on Zoom and YouTube) were available for the conference devoted entirely to accessibility in video games. These also included live captioning and ASL interpreters throughout.

As is tradition with GAconf, this iteration kicked off with an update on accessibility news from the last six months by accessibility specialist, Ian Hamilton. First he focused on spotlighting new accessible hardware and how rapidly it’s becoming affordable where, in the past, there had been a disconnect between accessible solutions and the means of much of its target market.

There was more praise for Xbox’s continuing commitment to disabled gamers, plus a note on how remakes have shaped the benchmark of accessibility in 2022. There was special mention for The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe Edition and The Last of Us Part I. These are remakes which demonstrate, Hamilton said, that “while it is never too early to consider accessibility, it is also never too late to begin.”

The conference was rounded out with Caleb Kraft talking about his charity, The Controller Project, An initiative devoted to building controllers for disabled gamers with limb difference. Examining how technology, particularly 3D-printing, is making production both cheaper and easier for independent ventures like The Controller Project, therefore making it easier to get hardware to those who need it.

It was a short, sharp conference with a lot of information to take in, so I was glad for the opportunity to catch up on YouTube (both to better grasp some of what I’d heard and because some of the talks were past my bedtime). It offers a great opportunity for everyone to see how others have built accessibility into their companies, games, and design ethos.

The conference moves back to Europe in April, with information available closer to the time on GAconf’s website.

The Games Accessibility Conference US 2022 is available in full on the IGDA-GASIG YouTube channel along with individual talks, which are also linked throughout this article.

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