Why Inclusive Gaming Matters: Benefits Beyond Entertainment
Why Inclusive Gaming Matters.
In the past few decades, video gaming has evolved from a niche hobby to a dominant form of entertainment that captivates audiences worldwide. With its dynamic storytelling, inventive gameplay mechanics, and immersive experiences, it offers a unique blend of art, technology, and interaction that draws in billions of people. As the community grows, so does the diversity of its players, leading to a pivotal dialogue around one crucial aspect: inclusivity.
Inclusivity in video games is a conversation that is rapidly gaining momentum in the gaming industry. With an estimated 2.7 billion gamers worldwide, there’s a need to ensure that every player — regardless of their abilities — can fully participate and engage. The importance of inclusion in gaming extends far beyond mere entertainment, fostering social connectivity, providing therapeutic benefits, and enhancing cognitive skills, particularly for people with disabilities. In this article, we’ll dive deeper into the importance of inclusion in video games.
Inclusion in Video Games: Going Beyond The Controller
One of the reasons why inclusive gaming matters so much is because of the transformative power that video games offer. Gaming is no longer just about scoring points or achieving the next level — it’s about community, representation, empowerment, and more.
In a world where many people with disabilities face physical and societal barriers, inclusive gaming offers a platform for connection and expression. For instance, research shows that video games can help combat social isolation, which is common among people with disabilities.
The Importance of Inclusion: Empowering People With Disabilities
The importance of inclusion also extends to how people with disabilities perceive themselves and their potential. Inclusive games — with their diverse characters and adaptive control options — provide an opportunity for people with disabilities to see themselves reflected in the virtual world, which is often a rarity in mainstream media.
Moreover, inclusivity within video games brings therapeutic benefits. Video games — especially ones designed with inclusivity in mind — can offer a form of physical therapy and cognitive rehabilitation. They can also aid in improving hand-eye coordination, problem-solving skills, and spatial awareness.
The Social Aspect: Why Inclusion Is Important
Inclusivity in video games extends far beyond the screen, impacting the social lives of players. The rise of multiplayer and online gaming has paved the way for diverse, global communities to form and thrive. These platforms have eliminated geographical barriers, allowing people from all walks of life to connect and interact in virtual spaces.
For people with disabilities, video games can provide an accessible and safe social platform. They facilitate communication, foster friendships, and combat isolation, factors often challenging for people with disabilities. The chance to participate in co-operative missions, competitive matches, or simply connect in virtual chat rooms can create a sense of community and belonging. Consequently, the importance of inclusion in this context translates to improved mental health, reduced loneliness, and increased self-esteem.
Inclusivity and Accessibility: The Changing Landscape
With the growing recognition of inclusivity within video games, developers are making concerted efforts to ensure games are accessible to all players. Over the years, we have seen the introduction of features like customizable controls, allowing players to modify their gameplay according to their physical capabilities.
Colorblind modes are being integrated to aid visually impaired players, and text-to-speech features help those with reading difficulties or auditory preferences. These steps signal a shift in the industry, highlighting the growing importance of inclusion and accessibility in game design.
Hundreds of developers from studios all over the world have been trained in accessible design through the AbleGamers Certified APX Practitioner Course. You can learn more about the course by visiting Accessible.Games!
Mobile Gaming: The Frontier of Inclusivity
As the world becomes increasingly mobile-centric, gaming is following suit. Mobile gaming — with its easy access and cost-effectiveness — is playing a significant role in driving inclusion in video games. The ubiquity of smartphones means games can reach a wider audience, including those who might have felt excluded from console or PC gaming due to cost or complexity.
Mobile games often come with touch-based, intuitive controls, which can be more accessible for some players with disabilities. They also open up gaming to those in developing regions, where mobile phones can be the primary means of internet access. This emerging trend has the potential to make gaming even more inclusive, amplifying the positive impacts that gaming can have on society.
The Positive Impacts of Inclusive Gaming
Embracing inclusivity within video games can have powerful positive effects on players. Beyond the joy and excitement of gameplay, being part of a virtual world that values and practices inclusion can lead to improved self-esteem, a stronger sense of community, and heightened empathy.
For players with disabilities, seeing themselves represented in games and being able to play without barriers can validate their experiences and enhance their confidence. Furthermore, inclusive gaming can teach all players about the value of diversity and acceptance, promoting empathy and understanding across global gaming communities.
Inclusivity in video games isn’t just a trend — it’s a necessary evolution for an industry that impacts billions of lives. It’s a testament to the enduring power of gaming — a world where everyone, regardless of their abilities, should be able to play, thrive, and feel seen.
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! You can also plan to participate in our SpawnTogether fundraising event in September to help gamers with disabilities while playing the games we all love!