The Game Accessibility Conference (GAConf) is a one-day conference dedicated to making games more accessible to gamers with disabilities. The conference will cover many wide-ranging topics across the industry and exploring new, innovative ways to advance and overcome present challenges to ensure that no one is excluded.
This year the GAConf will be gathering some major players across the industry- from companies like Naughty Dog, Xbox, and the director of Global Game Jam; to indie developers, accessibility specialists like Ian Hamilton, as well as academics. In Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Naughty Dog took strides toward improving the game by incorporating a section dedicated to accessibility options. This is a big step in the right direction, and one of the topics during the GAConf will focus on the great advancements in accessibility that were made in 2016. Then throughout the day, the conversations will turn more to the steps that developers and industry professionals can take in order to keep pushing the boundary in 2017 and beyond. Other sessions will include the importance of virtual and augmented reality in gamers’ experiences, as well as how game audio can improve accessibility.
One of the biggest aims for this conference is for game developers and other attendees to leave feeling inspired and leave with tips to ensure that every game reaches as many people as possible so that no one is excluded from this medium. Awareness of game accessibility has grown over the last few years, as well as discussions about why this topic is so important. More about this can be heard at sessions like Bryan Johnson’s (Xbox) will be speaking about “Friction That Fits-Unlocking Inclusive Fun”.
The GAConf is hosted by the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) Game Accessibility Special Interest Group. The Special Interest Group was founded over ten years ago and represents a variety of organizations, with a goal to “share and communicate issues and solutions related to game accessibility.”
The conference will be held on February 27, 2017, at the Mission Bay Conference Center in San Francisco, CA.
Tori is a writer and gamer originally from Vault 111, but now she resides in Chicago. She has an MFA in creative writing-fiction, runs primarily on coffee, and is an expert on AMC’s The Walking Dead. Follow her on Twitter @torithatnerd.