Microsoft Buys Activision Blizzard: What It Means For Disabled Gamers

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Show Notes

Microsoft has announced it is purchasing games company Activision Blizzard for almost $70 billion (that’s £50bn) – in the largest deal in gaming history. If the deal is completed, it will mark a major step for Microsoft’s Xbox games console in its battle against the Sony PlayStation.

For disabled gamers, there’s a sense of excitement as Microsoft have proven their strong commitment to accessibility across their products but especially in the gaming space through Xbox consoles and the games themselves, such as Forza Horizon 5.

Games accessibility expert and advocate Ian Hamilton told Blind Guy Talks Tech:

“It is fantastic news, it can only lead to good things. Particularly going back to that point earlier about cultural significance. Because games like World of Warcraft, Overwatch, Hearthstone, Call of Duty, Candy Crush and Diablo are some of the world’s most loved and most played, any inroads on accessibility with these are going to make a huge difference not just to recreation to people’s ability to socialise and participate in society.”

However Ian did suggest caution, telling us that the fight for game accessibility has only just begun.

“We are still, despite all the good news stories, only at the start. We’re still not at the stage yet of big name games even managing to get all the basics right, things like text size, subtitling, remapping, colourblindness. Let alone where we need to be, which is any gamer able to pick up any game and have a reasonable expectation that they won’t be unnecessarily locked out. The pace of change is pretty exponential at the moment. The way the landscape changed in 2020-2021 was phenomenal compared to the previous year, which in turn was phenomenal compared to the year before that. There are things in development now that when they hit in a year or two’s time will be like nothing the industry has seen before. And with each step forwards like that we get every closer to gaming reaching its full potential.”

Listen to Ian’s comments in full on the podcast with Steven Scott and Shaun Preece who also discuss the news from their perspsectives as ‘reluctant gamers’.

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