On June 17, 2014 the Game Accessibility Guidelines was awarded the Chairman’s Award for Advancement in Accessibility. 

This is the top honors worldwide for innovative disability accessibility in information technology and is awarded by the Federal Communications Commission. Game Accessibility Guidelines is a free online resource that assists video game developers with video game accessibility for PC, console, and mobile games. The Game Accessibility Guidelines are available here.

Tom Wheeler, the Chairman of the FCC, presented the award at the M-Enabling Summit which is a conference of international leaders in mobile accessibility technology. The award is a signature project of the FCC’s Accessibility and Innovation Initiative which prioritizes accessibility in communications technologies.

Lynsey Graham, a co-author of the guidelines, game designer, and accessibility specialist commemorated the honors stating, “It’s fantastic to see the guidelines and the need for accessibility gaining more recognition. Hopefully as more developers become aware of the issues and how to solve them, the world of gaming will be opened up to even more people.”

With over 20% of gamers estimated to have some form of a disability, disabled gamers often face inaccessibility in video games due to developers’ lack of awareness. The Game Accessibility Guidelines was created by a collaborative effort and remains a living document for further revisions and additions. The guidelines covers a wide variety of disabilities and offers “basic,” “intermediate,” and “advanced” accessibility features for accessibility within video game design. Guidelines range from reconfiguring options for control layouts to voiceover for all text including menus to allowing narratives to be replayed to visual communication options in multiplayer.

Accessibility Angle:

The Game Accessibility Guidelines are an invaluable and free resource for video game developers to implement video game accessibility. The guidelines are a jumping off point for developers to understand that different disabilities require unique accessibility features and provides the language to discuss the wide range of needs across various disabilities. Additionally, the tiered levels of accessibility allows developers to balance video game accessibility design within budget constraints. 

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