Accessibility Touched on by Gaming Industry in IGN Roundtable

The video games industry has seen some massive changes and improvements over the last decade, and as a way of looking back through that, IGN spoke with people within the industry to discuss the last decade of gaming. One of the topics brought up in this roundtable was in regards to accessibility.

Speaking to Denby Grace, executive producer at 2K, they state that “Great gaming experiences are more accessible than ever before.” and that “Variation in hardware, delivery methods, price points, and ways to engage with content has allowed a wider audience to consume games in an assortment of ways.”

Head of Sonic Team at SEGA, Takashi Iizuka also brings up how controllers have advanced. “controllers have adapted to allow players more ease of use and mobility. Players can now make commands by shaking or moving the controller or inputting actions by gestures and posing with their bodies.”

There wasn’t much else mentioned in particular about accessibility which was a shame. Especially considering the last few years have seen some great advancements, such as the Xbox Adaptive Controller and how games such as Celeste introduced intuitive assist modes to help players experience a game to their thresholds.

Either way, it’s nice to see accessibility brought up at all. In 2010, IGN ran a similar roundtable. Throughout that entire article, the only real mention of accessibility back then was how Rocksteady Studios’ Senior Gameplay Programmer, Paul Denning’s grandma would play the Nintendo DS because of how accessible it was.

The conversation certainly has grown louder in the past decade. As IGN’s 2020 roundtable statement from Lee Mather, Game Director at Codemasters reads, “The most striking changes to me have been in the acceptance of video gaming, not only as a creative medium which is seen on the same level as film and TV, but also as an industry where you can cultivate a career.” They also say, “I think we’re in an iterative phase right now. As the big ‘wow’ moments in mobile phone tech have slowed, it’s a similar case with gaming hardware. It’s all going to be about giving users access to the highest quality experiences possible in as many different ways as possible.”

We’ve already seen Crystal Dynamics talk exclusively about accessibility in the upcoming Marvel’s Avengers, and despite a game such as Ghost of Tsushima wanting to give players a challenge, the developers are still allowing players to lower the difficulty.

Hopefully, the next decade will see a lot more accessibility focused discussions throughout the entire industry. What would you most like to see in the next decade for gaming and accessibility? Get chatting on Twitter!

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Ben Bayliss

Deaf Editor at Can I Play That? - British and enjoys games with good subtitles and will complain about bad subtitles.

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