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Pocket Gamer Connects conference

Earlier this year, RNIB's Jonny Marshall had the opportunity to attend the Pocket Gamer Connects video games conference in London, with the aim of raising the importance of accessibility features for gamers with vision impairments from across the sight loss spectrum. Find out about his experience of the event in his article below.

Pocket Gamer Connects is the leading international conference series for the global games industry. The event started off focusing on mobile games but over time has branched out to include console games, through to virtual reality games.

The Expo

The expo floor is a great place to engage with stakeholders from across the games industry, from indie developers through to game engines and larger studios. It was great to come across developers who were already considering accessibility for visually impaired gamers. One mobile game in development which particularly stood out to me was WalkScape. Despite the dev team only consisting of two people, they were already thinking about screen reader compatibility. Some conversations took a different route as the booth representatives were not sure on their accessibility provision, but most people were interested in finding out about access features for blind and partially sighted gamers. Importantly, most people I interacted with said they would raise the issue of accessibility when they returned to their workplace. Another angle discussions took was around what could be done to encourage blind and partially sighted people to work in the games industry. Here, discussions I had were with some gaming data analytics and engine providers about improving their internal systems’ compatibility with screen readers to try and open the door for blind and partially sighted people to work within the games industry.


One of the highlights of the conference was the opportunity to connect with individuals interested in accessibility through the “meet-to-match “platform. Networking sessions provided the opportunity to share ideas and exchange experiences. This provided an interesting opportunity to connect with a range of people from established studios such as Rebellion through to university students. It was great to discuss their passion for accessibility no matter where they were in their gaming journey.


While there was only one presentation on accessibility, it covered an important topic, access to virtual reality. The presentation by Blind Burners about the non-visual access to virtual reality highlighted the role sounds and haptics could play in opening up virtual reality worlds to blind and partially sighted people. During the presentation they demonstrated a virtual reality art gallery world they had created where “sound-spheres” could be used to help with navigating. They also highlighted the importance of the platforms for developing and accessing virtual reality experiences being accessible as currently this can be a barrier. After the presentation, it was heartening to hear the audience interest in this growing area.

As I reflect on my time at Pocket Gamer Connects, I am excited for the future of accessibility in gaming. The gradual increase of accessibility focused presentations and discussions at mainstream conferences such as Pocket Gamer Connects signals a positive shift in the industry. By continuing to engage and collaborate with the games industry and blind and partially sighted gamers, we can create games that can be enjoyed by everyone!