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Design for every gamer

RNIB Design For Every Gamer logo on black background

Design for every gamer is our initiative to create a better gaming world for people with sight loss and a rallying cry to the industry to start making real change.

Help us with our mission and join our user testing panel

Through a series of research programmes, industry partnerships and activations, RNIB’s mission is to collaborate towards a more inclusive future for gaming. If you or someone you know would be interested in joining our user testing panel to increase accessibility in gaming going forward, please fill out our form.

Creating accessible video games for blind and partially sighted people

Every year, around 100,000 people in the UK must come to terms with losing their sight. It is our fundamental belief that everyone should have the right to game, however they see.

That’s why we’ve created ‘Design for every gamer’, our initiative to create a better gaming world for people with sight loss and a rallying cry to the industry to start making real change.

Ava sat on her bed, playing a video game.

What do we mean by making video games accessible to gamers with sight loss?

Sight loss is a spectrum, encompassing everything from nearly full vision to none whatsoever. Within the medium of videogames, these differences in vision levels also mean that players will end up relying on differing strategies and feature sets to play the titles they want to enjoy.

For players with usable or residual vision, among other adjustments, this could be high contrast modes that allow characters and important interactable objects to stand out from the environment or increasing text sizes to allow the smaller fonts in titles to be more easily read.

For gamers with no usable vision, features that can assist include menu and user interface (UI) narration (where items that are navigated through are spoken aloud), audio cues that play to indicate button prompts and navigational assists that allow the player to traverse the environment without the need for sighted assistance through automatic turning of the camera to point to the next objective, to name just a few examples.


The most important thing to note about the current landscape of accessibility is that it can vary between platforms, regardless of whether the games themselves are accessible. Games can be either partially or fully accessible, but on platforms that are inaccessible, the accessibility of games becomes a somewhat moot point without additional assistance or workarounds.

For those who require a narrated interface, the latest iteration of PlayStation and Xbox consoles (PS5 and Xbox Series X|S) are all equipped with one. The PlayStation 4 does not support such an interface outside of certain models and region restrictions. Nintendo’s Switch platform, as of the time of writing, in early 2023, does not feature any kind of screen reader functionality.

For those console gamers with residual vision, various degrees of zoom are available on Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo’s platforms, though your mileage may vary as to their effectiveness for your particular use case.


There are multiple ways to make games accessible to players with vision impairments, some depending on the community of players and others relying on developers of the titles in question.

Developer Implementations

Ideally, those creating a game will implement accessibility as a core part of its development, from the very earliest stages, though it can of course happen at later points in the cycle as well. Making sure this happens and is undertaken correctly can mean the difference between being able to play a game partly or even at all, and with accessibility baked in, the possibilities for what could be achieved are far greater than with retrofitting.


Retrofitting is the practice of implementing accessibility after a game has been released. Whilst this isn’t optimal, it has allowed games like Gears 5, Sea of Thieves, Killer Instinct and God of War to flourish when otherwise players would not have been able to play these games without features added post-release.


Mods (or modifications) are additional downloads on top of the standard game that can add things like screen reader support, high contrast user interface colour changes or additional audio cues, as well as unrelated elements like gameplay changes depending on the mod in question.

Though the ideal solution is to have accessibility directly implemented, mods like Say The Spire, Hearthstone Access and Hades Accessibility Mods have opened up experiences that otherwise might not be available without assistance or large amounts of patience if at all.

Case studies

The Last of Us (Parts I and II)

The Last of Us, as a franchise, is now considered the gold standard for accessibility in triple A gaming, with a vast array of accessibility options. The launch of The Last of Us Part II was a groundbreaking achievement. When the original game was remastered and released in 2022, with additional features like cinematic audio description and additional haptic feedback (including for accessibility), it received further recognition for continuing to drive the industry forward.

For those with no sight at all, both games are playable start to finish without the need for sighted assistance, though to earn all the titles’ respective trophies (virtual commendations for achieving certain objectives or milestones), sighted help will likely be required in minimal doses for things like finding collectables in hard-to-reach places.

The games themselves contain a vast array of accessibility options, including but not limited to menu and UI narration, navigation assist, target lock (essentially automatic aiming), automatic pickup of items, audio cues for traversal and interaction, controller remapping and high contrast modes. Part I additionally features audio description for cinematics and haptic dialogue amongst a host of elements only available because of next generation PlayStation 5 hardware.

God of War Ragnarök

God of War Ragnarök, following on the heels of 2018's soft-reboot/sequel (simply entitled God of War), had a lot to live up to. What was not necessarily expected, but hoped for, was an increase in accessibility. Thanks to Mila Pavlin and everyone else at Santa Monica Studio, this sequel, both on PS5 and PS4, now boasts a similar set of accessibility options to The Last of Us (including navigational assists, high contrast modes, partial menu and UI narration and audio cues). With minimal sighted assistance, gamers with no sight whatsoever have completed the game already, lending weight to God of War Ragnarök winning the innovation in accessibility award at The Game Awards 2022.

For gamers with no sight whatsoever, this title could unfortunately be a struggle to play through and will require sighted assistance at points due to inaccessibility of some puzzle types but said types of puzzle are only minimally featured. Side quest content is also mostly inaccessible due to limitations with the navigational assists, so to have a more diverse experience in terms of how you play (obtaining gear, armour etc along the way) sighted assistance is recommended outside of the main story.

Sea of Thieves

At launch, Sea of Thieves was a far from optimal experience for a gamer without sight, even with a crew who knew what they were doing. The team at Rare took this frustration to heart, as with the game’s anniversary update, elements of menu narration were added, alongside other features. Ever since, the game has gone from strength to strength adding audio cues to the live stream, narration for fish name plates and interaction prompts to name just some of the various additions. Now gamers without sight can steer the ship based on compass headings, know when interact prompts are available and know which direction their pirate is facing which can assist in allowing sighted players to direct them. Even though you do need the confidence to gather together a crew on the Sea of Thieves, firing cannons through communication with your crew regarding direction and angle, fishing (via haptic feedback) and steering the ship (again via haptic feedback and additional audio cues) are all possible. This makes the game an enjoyable experience where social interaction is a core pillar.

The Vale

Although The Vale, Shadow of The Crown has graphics, they are mostly decorative. Instead, this title that is available on Xbox and PC is experienced through audio only, with the combat-based narrative adventure taking you on a journey with a host of intriguing characters and locations in what most would probably describe as a medieval fantasy-style setting.

Other than saying you play as a blind protagonist, to disclose anything else might spoil elements of the plot, but the entire experience can be played without the need for sighted assistance if you have no vision whatsoever, including on the hardest difficulty. For the achievement hunters amongst you, the game on Xbox does contain a full 1000 gamer score, which will encourage you to play through everything The Vale has to offer.

As for accessibility features, the game itself is natively accessible through audio design, built-in tutorials, and self-voiced menus (the game does not support screen readers, instead relying on pre-recorded files). In comparison to mainstream games of a similar inclination this title might be considered simple, its higher-than-average production value in terms of independent audio-based games, as well as its fluid combat controls make it potentially a good transitional point to move into the world of controller-based gaming for those who might be unfamiliar.

If you want to show someone with sight something a little different, having them rely on their hearing could be an interesting test.

RNIB’s work on accessible gaming


In 2022, RNIB published its first research into the accessibility of video games, covering not only the perspectives of players, but also developers of games and the engines that power them. Amongst many other findings, it was revealed that although many developers wanted to implement accessibility into their titles, there were not enough resources or available avenues for knowledge sharing that would make this process as easy as it should be.

Moreover, those surveyed expressed an interest in finding players with vision impairments to work with but had found it difficult to know where to begin with this side of things during previous research.


Leading on from the RNIB’s accessible gaming research , October 2022 saw RNIB hold, in conjunction with Abertay University in Dundee, the Accessible Gaming Symposium, bringing together both players and industry professionals from all over the world in a hybrid setting. Both in-person and online discussions were had as to the current state of game accessibility, what needed to change to move things forward and the possibilities for the future.

This event was a resounding success with discussion on frustration points and potential solutions. Some of the most experienced stakeholders from studios across the world including Activision Blizzard King, Ubisoft, Xbox, EA and many others joined these discussions, cementing a brighter future for any gamers with vision impairments who need accessibility features.

Design for Every Gamer Webinars

RNIB supports VI Gaming peer-support groups for adults who would like to connect with other blind and partially sighted people with an interest in video games and gaming. The groups are a fun, social space to meet other gamers, chat about the games you’ve been playing, and share accessibility tips and advice.

The groups are region-specific ad cover much of the UK. They are led by RNIB volunteers, and group meetings take place on Microsoft Teams and Discord. Along with regular group meetings online, VI Gaming Group volunteers work in collaboration with RNIB’s Community Connection team to hold gaming-themed events.

We are currently looking for Community Lead Volunteers to lead and support new VI Gaming groups in areas not covered by our existing groups. To find out about your nearest VI Gaming group, or to get involved in volunteering for RNIB, please call the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or email [email protected].

Previous RNIB VI Gaming Group Community Events:

Next steps

Looking forward, RNIB strives to become a strong supporter and stakeholder in the development of accessibility in videogames, collaborating with developers, publishers, big and small across the world to make sure, regardless of what level of vision you have, you can play titles that are popular, niche or anywhere in between. RNIB knows that without the input of players, particularly those with first-hand experience of gaming with vision impairments, accessibility cannot improve and wishes to unite end users and developers creating the next generation of games in a transparent, ongoing exchange of information and feedback. This will help to ensure that the features and structure everyone needs to play are present.

Let's work together

We believe that creating experiences that are enjoyable, immersive and inclusive requires the participation of the people who will use them.

Our team of accessibility experts works with gamers with different levels and types of vision impairment to review concepts and designs to offer advice.

Professional Services

RNIB professional services include strategic planning and game concept reviews, game design expert and end user testing, recruitment for play testing and outreach and communication to the community of gamers with vision impairments.

Please share as many details of your project as you can. For example, your aims, timeframe and budget. We’ll be in touch shortly.

Academic and Industry Research

We collaborate and support research on accessible gaming that aims to make it possible for more blind and partially sighted gamers to play the games they want to play and on the platform of their choice. We have an extensive background of working with universities, industry and other stakeholders on research studies across a number of different areas.