Improving the accessibility of videogames: SightlessKombat

Improving the accessibility of videogames: SightlessKombat

Improving the accessibility of videogames: SightlessKombat

Introduction

Innovation is commonplace within the gaming industry, yet for a long time developers and studios gave little thought to accessibility and many games, even now, remain inaccessible for disabled people.

“Were it not for the Churchill Fellowship, I would not be in business, doing a job I enjoy and having worked with so many great collaborators worldwide." - SightlessKombat, Fellow

Accessibility consultant SightlessKombat (CF 2017) is a gamer without sight and over the past five years has been raising awareness within the gaming industry of the need for greater accessibility. In 2018, following a visit on his Fellowship the year before to E3 in the USA (one of the leading trade events for the video gaming industry worldwide), SightlessKombat was invited to return to the event as a guest of the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). His input during his Fellowship and the advice he gave to the studios working on the games had been noticed, and SightlessKombat was able to share his Fellowship report widely, including with organisations such as Microsoft, Valve and NVIDIA.

Since then, SightlessKombat has been in demand as an accessibility consultant to the gaming industry worldwide. Microsoft, Sony and Guerrilla Games in the Netherlands have all approached him for advice, resulting in his involvement in titles including Horizon: Forbidden West, Gears 5 and Halo Infinite, amongst others.

He has shared his Fellowship findings in sector publications, including Eurogamer and Digital Trends, and at international events such as Axe-con opened by Tim Berners-Lee and the Game Accessibility Conference which takes place in both Europe and the USA. He regularly writes consumer reviews of products, rating their accessibility, and livestreams his gameplay via Twitch, which often prompts enquiries from developers. In 2021 he was awarded an MVP award by Xbox for his commitment to helping others get the most out of their experience with Xbox products and services. He now acts as a champion on Xbox’s behalf, helping to make gaming a more inclusive place for everybody.

SightlessKombat’s Fellowship to the USA explored accessibility in the videogame industry and was motivated by his own frustrations in trying to play games that were not accessible.

He said, “Were it not for the Churchill Fellowship, I would not be in business, doing a job I enjoy and having worked with so many great collaborators worldwide. Accessibility is my passion and I’m so glad that my Fellowship allowed me an opportunity that would otherwise have been out of reach.”

“Were it not for the Churchill Fellowship, I would not be in business, doing a job I enjoy and having worked with so many great collaborators worldwide." - SightlessKombat, Fellow

Accessibility consultant SightlessKombat (CF 2017) is a gamer without sight and over the past five years has been raising awareness within the gaming industry of the need for greater accessibility. In 2018, following a visit on his Fellowship the year before to E3 in the USA (one of the leading trade events for the video gaming industry worldwide), SightlessKombat was invited to return to the event as a guest of the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). His input during his Fellowship and the advice he gave to the studios working on the games had been noticed, and SightlessKombat was able to share his Fellowship report widely, including with organisations such as Microsoft, Valve and NVIDIA.

Since then, SightlessKombat has been in demand as an accessibility consultant to the gaming industry worldwide. Microsoft, Sony and Guerrilla Games in the Netherlands have all approached him for advice, resulting in his involvement in titles including Horizon: Forbidden West, Gears 5 and Halo Infinite, amongst others.

He has shared his Fellowship findings in sector publications, including Eurogamer and Digital Trends, and at international events such as Axe-con opened by Tim Berners-Lee and the Game Accessibility Conference which takes place in both Europe and the USA. He regularly writes consumer reviews of products, rating their accessibility, and livestreams his gameplay via Twitch, which often prompts enquiries from developers. In 2021 he was awarded an MVP award by Xbox for his commitment to helping others get the most out of their experience with Xbox products and services. He now acts as a champion on Xbox’s behalf, helping to make gaming a more inclusive place for everybody.

SightlessKombat’s Fellowship to the USA explored accessibility in the videogame industry and was motivated by his own frustrations in trying to play games that were not accessible.

He said, “Were it not for the Churchill Fellowship, I would not be in business, doing a job I enjoy and having worked with so many great collaborators worldwide. Accessibility is my passion and I’m so glad that my Fellowship allowed me an opportunity that would otherwise have been out of reach.”