Accessibility categories in awards

Accessibility categories in awards

Public facing industry recognition of developer efforts

The Tin Man Games team holding the AGDA accessibility trophy

Industry recognition for important efforts is not just a great way to reward the people involved – it is also a great way to raise awareness of and the profile of accessibility in general. That an industry body regards accessibility as being important enough to award for is a powerful statement in itself.

After 8 years of pushing for inclusion of accessibility in mainstream awards, the SIG found success with the Australian Game Developer Awards, which implemented a dedicated award in category in 2013 with the inaugural award won by The Voxel Agents. This ran for four years, after which the awards shifted format and removed all categories, and adopted accessibility as one of the criteria for the judging of all entries.

AGDA was followed by TIGA awards in the UK. Similarly this ran for a number of years before shifting format – it now takes the form of a broad diversity category, which includes a call out for games that are accessible to diverse audiences.

In 2020/2021 this exploded, With not only the return of a dedicated category in the AGDAs (alongside their criteria across all categories) but also new dedicated accessibility categories in The Game Awards, the PlayStation Blog awards, the New Zealand Game Developer Awards, IGDA awards, IGN awards, and PlayStation Lifestyle Awards. SIG advocacy is still ongoing in this area, successfully advocating for and informing criteria new categories at some of those listed above (AGDA & IGDA).