Esports Accessibility - AbleGamers


How Esports Is Becoming More Accessible

A young woman sitting in a gaming chair wearing headphones cheering with her hand in the air

How Esports Is Becoming More Accessible for All

Esports — also known as e-sports — is a form of competition using video games that has rapidly evolved into a worldwide phenomenon. But what is esports, exactly? They are organized, multiplayer video game competitions, often between professional players. The most popular esports games vary, but titles like “League of Legends,” “Rocket League,” and “Counter-Strike” frequently top the charts. In this article, we’ll explore esports further and explain how this arena is becoming increasingly inclusive.

The Rising Popularity of Esports

The ascent of esports has been meteoric. According to Newzoo, the esports audience hit nearly 495 million globally in 2020, generating over $1 billion in revenue. This explosion in popularity has turned esports from a subculture into a mainstream entertainment sphere, providing not just viewing pleasure but also lucrative career paths for gamers.

Further, the esports market is expected to reach a revenue of $4.3 billion in 2024, and by 2028, the market is expected to have over 920 million users. This rapid rise is attributed to increased internet access, streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube, and the growing acceptance of gaming as a legitimate competitive field.

Top Esports and Their Global Reach

In the realm of esports, certain titles shine brighter. “League of Legends” is a juggernaut, with its 2020 World Championship attracting 3.8 million peak viewers. But it’s not alone. “Dota 2” commands attention with The International — an annual Dota 2 event known for its staggering prize pools — reflecting the game’s deep strategy and global appeal. “Fortnite”, meanwhile, transcends gaming to become a cultural phenomenon, with its interactive virtual concerts and events. Other popular games include “Call of Duty”, “FIFA”, “Super Smash Bros”, “Starcraft II”, and more. These games exemplify esports’ ability to bridge diverse cultures, creating a global community united by a shared passion. 

Making Esports Accessible

The widespread appeal of esports beckons a significant question: how is this digital arena becoming more inclusive, particularly for individuals with disabilities?

For people with disabilities, esports represents a level playing field where physical limitations often fade into the background. Organizations like AbleGamers champion this cause, pushing for greater accessibility in gaming. Let’s take a look at some of the ways that esports is becoming more accessible:

  • Adaptive Technology and Gaming: A cornerstone of this inclusivity is adaptive technology. Modified controllers and software enhancements (amongst other advancements) have been game-changers. These innovations allow gamers with a variety of disabilities to engage in gaming and esports, breaking down barriers that once seemed insurmountable.
  • Inclusive Esports Tournaments: In addition to technological advancements, the esports community is seeing a rise in tournaments specifically designed for players with disabilities, including the Adaptive Esports Tournaments that AbleGamers assisted in founding. These events not only provide a competitive platform but also help in raising awareness about the importance of accessibility in gaming.
  • Esports Teams and Sponsorships: There are now esports teams composed entirely of players with disabilities, receiving sponsorships and support similar to traditional esports teams. This inclusion demonstrates the industry’s commitment to diversifying its player base.

Esports is revolutionizing the gaming world for people with disabilities, offering an arena where physical limitations are often diminished, allowing skills and strategy to take center stage. This shift towards inclusivity is largely due to the efforts of organizations like AbleGamers, which advocate for greater accessibility in gaming.

The progress in adaptive technology and the growing inclusivity in the esports sector are pivotal in leveling the playing field for players with disabilities. This evolution in esports is not just about technological innovation — it’s a movement toward a more inclusive and diverse gaming community, where everyone has the opportunity to compete, connect, and celebrate their love for gaming.

The Future of Esports Accessibility

As esports continues its upward trajectory, the imperative for inclusivity grows. Developers and organizations are increasingly cognizant of the need to cater to a diverse gaming audience, including people with disabilities. This growing awareness — coupled with technological advancements — heralds a future where esports can be a universal platform, transcending physical and social barriers.

Esports has not only become a global entertainment and professional platform but also a medium for fostering inclusivity and accessibility. The evolution of esports is not just about the games and the players — it’s about creating a space where everyone, regardless of their abilities, can participate and enjoy the thrill of competition. As we look toward the future of esports, the role of inclusivity, especially of people with disabilities, will be pivotal in defining its success and reach.

At AbleGamers, our mission is to create opportunities that enable play in order to combat social isolation, foster inclusive communities, and improve the quality of life for people with disabilities. We know that video games can be the perfect gateway to community participation, lifelong friendships, and unforgettable shared experiences. That’s why it’s crucial to ensure these experiences are developed with accessibility as a priority and inclusion as the goal.

We are working every day to make sure people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else for positive experiences through play. With our nearly two decades as pioneers in inclusive play, thousands of hours working with people with disabilities, and leading developers and engineers, we create opportunities for players to find inclusive places to play and connect with family and friends. Learn more about what we do here, or help continue our crucial work by making a monetary donation or purchasing something from our shop!