— 5 October 2022 | Our games
Creating More Accessible Games for Everyone, a Priority at Ubisoft Québec
Today, more than ever, accessibility in video games is a key issue in our industry.
According to recent estimates, recently shared by Microsoft, more than 400 million gamers around the world have a disability. These are video game fans who aspire to be able to enjoy our adventures from start to finish, with as few obstacles as possible. Just like anyone else.
That’s why at Ubisoft Québec, we aim to make accessibility and inclusivity an essential part of our creative process. Initiatives have been put in place within our teams to better educate and raise awareness of the different needs of players with disabilities.
“It’s crucial that we raise awareness and include everyone as early as possible in the development process to make sure that we’re in line with the goals we’re trying to achieve in terms of accessibility,” says Steven Breton, User Experience Team Leader at Ubisoft Québec.
Initiating the Discussion
It is in this context that our studio welcomed specialized speakers in mid-September. They came to share with us the good works of our franchises in terms of accessibility and the different barriers they encountered through their experiences with our games.
- American content creator Erin Hawley lives with muscular dystrophy and helped develop the Xbox Adaptive Controller. She spoke about the importance of making game controls accessible, whether it’s in the layout of keys or simplifying more dexterity-intensive mechanics.
- Stephanie Haft is a disability studies student at Toronto Metropolitan University. She spoke about the different challenges faced in our games for a person on the autism spectrum, particularly with regards to orientation.
- Ross Minor is an accessibility consultant and blind person. He put into perspective how far we have to go, despite recent industry efforts, to truly transform today’s games into fully viable experiences for people who are blind, including the use of audio cues and text-to-speech.
- Jesse Anderson, an assistive technology specialist and legally blind person, also emphasized the importance of text-to-speech. He highlighted as well the challenges of navigating open-world games.
- Lorelei Root is a digital accessibility specialist and neurodivergent person living with multiple disabilities. She explored some of the issues related to narration in games, particularly when it is automated.
A Better Understanding of the Barriers
Organized over two days, these workshops proved to be a great success with the studio’s members, bringing together a total of more than 400 Ubisoft Québec employees and redefining accessibility as one of the priorities of our teams.
“These workshops are a unique opportunity to spend time with some of our most passionate gamers, but also to be able to dig more into those barriers that we usually don’t see as clearly,” says Jonathan Bédard, Director of User Experience at Ubisoft Québec.
With this in mind, efforts are continuing more than ever at our studio to ensure that accessibility is at the heart of our decisions and, more specifically, at the heart of our games.