i3 - November/December 2020 - 38

Business

By Steve Ewell

CT R E P O RTS

 N 

ot purely a recreational pastime, gaming Q What sparked the creation
of AbleGamers?
is also an opportunity to create social
I have a disability, but my disabilconnections, develop skills and help
ity didn't affect the way I played
people rehabilitate. It is also a big business. CTA games. I started AbleGamers
when I saw multiple sclerosis
estimates that 192 million U.S. consumers, or
take away the ability to game
70% of Americans ages 13-64, are gamers and
from my best friend. Games,
estimates hardware revenue of $4.6 billion in
especially online games, are
2020 (up 11% over 2019) and consumer spending about fun, but they are also
about the community that is
on gaming software to be $40 billion (up 10%).

The CTA Foundation believes
in the power of technology
to improve lives and in particular, we focus on older
adults and people with disabilities. One of the shining
examples of an organization
accomplishing this work is
AbleGamers. For over 15
years, AbleGamers has worked
with consumers "so everyone
can game."
The power of gaming to
create a connection and

2021

combat social isolation has
been driven home during the
pandemic with pieces on NPR
and with actor Ryan Reynolds
on social media. AbleGamers
also has received incredible
support this year from Sony
Playstation, the Pittsburgh
Penguins Foundation
and Hasbro.
I caught up with AbleGamers
Executive Director and Founder,
Mark Barlet who shared some
of their recent work.

THE CTA FOUNDATION will be telling the stories of how
technology is helping people live, work and play independently
during CES 2021.

built around them. We used the
video game as a shared experience, but while we played, we
shared, our families would stay
connected, and we could talk
later about the fun we had that
week. In short, games help you
be social, and we all understand
that a little more in 2020.

Q Can you talk about the Acces-

sible Player Experience Practitioner Course and the Developers Promoting Accessibility &
Diversity (DPAD) Initiative?
One of the pillars of AbleGamers
is professional development. In
order for our mission to come to
life, we support the player with
disabilities, but we also support
the content creators who make

Q How can companies partici-

pate in AbleGamers initiatives?
Our industry work is hosted on
our accessible games website.
You can learn about our design
patterns that help you frame
and develop for accessibility.
You can learn about how to
include people with disabilities
in your user-research team, and
learn how to sign up to take our
certification course. Accessible.
Games has all that information.
The CTA Foundation is pleased
to support AbleGamers, and
push the boundaries of how
technology enables us to all live,
work and play independently.

FOLLOW us on Twitter @CTAFoundation, Facebook and LinkedIn. Visit CTAFoundation.tech. Thank you for your support!

38

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

i3_1120_38_Business_CTReports-CTAFoundation.indd 38

Charles Mostoller/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Gaming Your Way to
New Connections

Brandon Amico and
stepson Thad play
video games in North
Carolina. Thad, who
was born without a
right hand, uses a controller that allows him
to play using his left
hand. Amico obtained
the controller with help
from AbleGamers.

games. I can build a custom
controller to support a player
with a physical disability, but I
cannot bolt on closed captioning to support a player with an
auditory disability, I need the
game makers to do that. We have
developed a certification for
game creators to become the
accessibility experts we need
inside the studios.
Our certification plan is not
free, it is one of the ways we
fund all the great work that we
do. My user researcher, Greg
Haynes, approached me with
the DPAD idea. In short, we give
scholarships to developers that
are under-represented in the
game space to provide the skills
to help them land great jobs
making games. They make more
accessible games, because they
have the knowledge, but they
also bring their life story to the
studio. We do our part to invest
in a future that we want to see.
Our hope is a large company
will see the great things that the
DPAD Initiative is doing, and fund
some of those seats, but for now,
we are taking care of it.

I T I S I N N O VAT I O N

10/20/20 10:26 AM


http://Ablegamers.org https://www.ces.tech/

i3 - November/December 2020

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