Xbox and Special Olympics hold first ‘Gaming for Inclusion’ esports event – TechCrunch

Gaming is generally moving towards accessibility, but not so much in Esports, which is as competitive as other games and somewhat distinctive in nature. The Xbox and Special Olympics are working together on a new event that combines competition with inclusion, and is currently underway.

This week, special Olympics athletes will compete against each other in a tournament Rocket League, Madden NFL22, And Forza Motorsports 7. The prize, apart from prestige and pride, is playing together with one of the celebrity supporters of the special Olympics: “NBA superstar Jason Tatum, NFL legend Jamal Charles and WWE Superstars.”

“This tournament is a meaningful and important step towards making sports more accessible and empowering special Olympic athletes with new ways to compete,” said Jane Panatoni, head of Xbox Social Impact. “Xbox has invested in a number of accessibility features and products, such as the Xbox Adaptive Controller and features such as Copylot or Speech to Text.

The tournaments are currently being recorded, and will air the rest of the week, with the “Celebrity Showcase” coming up on Saturday with recaps. You can check out the schedule at the bottom of this post, but usually just keep an eye on the Xbox Twitch channel and the Special Olympics YouTube channel.

I love highlighting these events because accessibility in the gaming world has long been on the back burner, and now we’re seeing big moves by developers, publishers and partners to make things better. Microsoft’s XAC is a great example, with a plethora of latest visual, audio dio and troubleshooting options. Ratchet and clunk Game. Esports is definitely one of the areas that needs more diversification, and the participating players were happy to participate. I asked Special Olympics Jose Moreno and Colton Rice for their views on the matter.

Do you think competitive gaming is becoming more accessible?

Rice: Competitive gaming is definitely becoming more accessible. Not only are sports becoming more accessible, accessibility allows people with disabilities to become more competitive players. People with intellectual disabilities always try to compete at their best. We want to do what everyone else is doing, and sometimes it takes a little help to make it happen.

Moreno: I think competitive gaming is becoming more accessible as Microsoft begins to bring out video game controllers that are accessible to people with intellectual disabilities, people with physical disabilities – accessible to everyone. I’ve been a lifelong gamer, and accessibility in sports has been game-changing. Accessible gaming was not available when I was growing up. Today, playing is more fun when you can play with friends of all abilities and everyone can take part.

Special Olympic athletes Colton Rice, left and Jose Moreno.

How are you experiencing that change?

Moreno: In my opinion, the more the video game industry involves people with intellectual disabilities, the better the video game community will know how much we like to play video games like everyone else. And through events like Gaming for Inclusion, I’m not only able to compete – I’m part of a community of gamers where my welcome and inclusion is.

Rice: People with intellectual disabilities have skills and pay attention to details; When we set our minds to do something, we practice until we are the best, especially when we enjoy doing it – and that includes gaming. People with disabilities need more time to learn, but when you are dedicated to something you are passionate about, you will not stop until you succeed.

What do you want to see from developers, publishers, etc.?

Moreno: I’d like to see more from developers or producers or publishers of video games in general or in computer games to include more people with intellectual disabilities in the video game workforce. People with intellectual disabilities can play a variety of roles and provide unique perspectives on how to improve the gaming experience. Publishers and developers may have different perspectives from people with disabilities; Whether it’s introducing people with intellectual disabilities into their stories or seeing them in a game. We look forward to being a part of this process, and there are many passionate gamers with intellectual disabilities who want to participate in focus groups or real jobs as creators in the industry.

Rice: The companies that make these games are trying to make high quality games that are fun for everyone. There is still much that can be done to make games more accessible. For example, it can be frustrating when players with intellectual disabilities are learning a new game with instructions that are difficult to read. It can take hours to learn how to play a new version of a game you’ve been playing for years. This does not mean that people with intellectual disabilities are not able to play or compete – it does mean that we need better accessibility tools to help us learn.

If gaming companies want to create accessible, inclusive games, they can help gamers with intellectual disabilities in the creative process create or test “easy reading” or beginner instructions, or find ways to simplify navigation between different levels of the game. Gaming can build a community and reach out to people who feel deprived. Accessibility allows everyone to enjoy.

This competition and other events in online gaming are especially needed to keep the Olympics community connected and active for the difficult couple years.

Priyanka Nandi, the organization’s chief information and technology officer, said Special Olympics has a long-standing partnership with Microsoft that has been invaluable to athletes and the families of the Special Olympics movement. “With the Kovid-19 epidemic, our main concern is the safety and health of our athletes, who are among the most vulnerable populations to the adverse or catastrophic consequences of the virus. This has led to the cancellation and postponement of thousands of annual individual events and competitions અર્થ meaning that our athletes have lost connections and opportunities to enjoy being with their fellow players, coaches, and friends. At this time, our goal is to raise awareness of the special Olympics movement and the achievements, hopes and dreams of our incredible athletes and to change attitudes towards people with intellectual disabilities in the gaming community, while remembering that gaming can be fun. And content for all. “

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