We Believe Gaming is for Everyone. This is How We’re Opening Those Doors
Through an investment in AbleGamers, Activision Blizzard is leading the way for inclusive and accessible game design
Activision Blizzard shares a unifying belief: That gaming represents some of the best expressions of the human experience.
From the excitement of finding that perfect epic loot, to the determined drive to come back from an almost certain defeat in a competitive match. From the calming flow of the games that help us relax, to the immersive and riveting characters and narratives that draw us in. These are just some of the varied and distinct ways our games become cultural forces for entertainment and fun.
And the people who are drawn to these gaming experiences are just as varied and distinct.
Gamers represent all walks of life - all ages, all backgrounds, and all abilities. Here at Activision Blizzard, we are on a journey to better understand and accommodate how to be more inclusive in our gaming content and overall gaming experiences. For example, our gaming teams have strived to better understand and design ways for our games to be more accessible for all. And when we talk about accessibility, we do not just zoom in on the aspects of game difficulty, and we certainly do not just focus on aspects of disability - but rather we value and cherish the generalized perspectives of usability, and accessible design as good design.
Another example: Since 2020, Activision Blizzard has continuously invested in the training of our developers into the AbleGamers Accessible Player eXperience certification training, also known as APX. I am pleased to announce that as of the end of this year, we have achieved a significant milestone - over 100 developers across Activision, Blizzard and King, have been trained in this program to date. And while these developers come from all over our organization - from different teams, different disciplines, and different levels of understanding accessibility - they all return with a shared respect and renewed tenacity to inspire their local teams to think about accessibility as a fundamental part of our game design.
Further, I am pleased to say that the entire core Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion leadership team at Activision Blizzard has also completed the APX course, helping us to understand the challenge and need for accessible gaming, as well as the empathy and further understanding of how to help other leaders be more inclusive in their goals and practices.
We know that growing systemic and sustainable change in an organization takes all levels - our leaders, our content creators, our game studios, our community, and further. And we understand that accessibility in gaming has a particular power and responsibility to help gamers of all abilities feel invited to try our gaming experiences.
In truth, we have been on this journey for some time. In many ways, our teams have always created, designed, and iterated on several features that coexist as both accessibility features and core game features. With our increased knowledge and continued growth in equipping our developers with the insight to be inclusive with accessibility in intentional and precise ways, while also always using innovation and immersion as key foundations to building these game experiences.
Like so many things in the space of DE&I, accessibility in gaming will never fully be complete. That is because as humans, our understanding of ourselves and others constantly evolves, and that push for learning happens with often the slightest of sparks. Even for myself, I am on a journey in understanding accessibility, but I do know that I can help advocate for a better gaming space by supporting accessibility in our games.
Even as we speak, our teams are hard at work on so many games that I know you will be excited to learn about. And within these, you will always see the joy of gaming our people feel, reflected in the craft and care of these games. Our industry and our community know that joy intimately. As the industry evolves to be more inclusive and welcoming, this joy will be joined more and more by the aspect of inclusion related to accessibility in our games.
Accessibility in gaming is an abstract concept for some, and it is new for others, but for everyone it means a new way to connect, understand, and experience our games. It is not that long ago that games were framed as a niche hobby that was only for select audiences. However, we’ve now shown that when we focus on the joy and the craft, that gaming can truly be for everyone.
More inclusive game design is the path forward, and we are proud to tread alongside you, our players, to grow the community and share in the joy of gaming.
🎮 Learn more about AbleGamers and the work they do to make gaming accessible to all
🌈 Check out the results of Activision Blizzard’s representation data for 2022
🙋🏽Look inside Level Up U, and our efforts to bring new developer voices to the table
About the Author:
Adrian Ledda is the Head of Inclusive Game Design at Activision Blizzard. He joined the company in 2009, and has since worked as a Game Programmer, Character Designer, and Accessibility Consultant on the Guitar Hero, Skylanders, Spyro, Crash Bandicoot, and Call of Duty series. With a background in Computer Science, Art, and DE&I, he works to empower our video game teams to consciously consider and value practices, perspectives, and innovations that create respectful, diverse, inclusive, and accessible experiences and representations in technology and gaming.