[games_access] Games for Health to Invest in Games Accessibility

hinn at uiuc.edu hinn at uiuc.edu
Fri Nov 16 11:44:14 EST 2007

Hehe...it's been killing me too but it helped to at least personally know that funding was on the way! :)

So everyone -- your ideas are needed!!


---- Original message ----

>Date: Fri, 16 Nov 2007 11:28:39 -0500

>From: Ben Sawyer <bsawyer at dmill.com>

>Subject: Re: [games_access] Games for Health to Invest in Games Accessibility

>To: IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List <games_access at igda.org>


>And thanks to Michelle for her leadership and for keeping this quiet

>long enough. It's been killing me to hold back.


>- Ben


>On Nov 16, 2007, at 11:25 AM, <hinn at uiuc.edu> wrote:


>> Hey everyone -- so Ben and I have been discussing this for a time

>> now and we're working together to come up with a plan as to how to

>> best use this generous donation, find matching funds, etc. So this

>> is the real deal! So, hey, we have some money now! So put on your

>> thinking caps and help us think of ways to best invest our money so

>> that it helps the SIG long-term!


>> And thanks to Ben, of course, for his incredible support and

>> including us in this initiative!


>> Michelle


>> ---- Original message ----

>>> Date: Fri, 16 Nov 2007 08:54:26 -0500

>>> From: Ben Sawyer <bsawyer at dmill.com>

>>> Subject: [games_access] Games for Health to Invest in Games

>>> Accessibility

>>> To: IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List <games_access at igda.org>


>>> Hi everyone,


>>> I've got some big news. As many of you saw Games for Health is part

>>> of a new round of investment by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

>>> into games and healthcare. We're extremely excited about this new

>>> development.


>>> As part of our specific grant we have allocated resources

>>> specifically to support the IGDA Accessibility community.


>>> Over the next two years we will directly contribute funds to SIG

>>> activities. The amount is set but I can't reveal it yet as much as I

>>> want to because I'm actually looking to make it more by finding some

>>> other organizations who will join us with matching funds. Right now

>>> I can tell you this - it's more then $10,000.


>>> The funds will be used to support your activities but there are of

>>> course some simple strings. Basically the funds will be released

>>> once there is a written plan in place that provides for how and what

>>> the funds will be spent on. That plan needs my approval and

>>> subsequently I have to have the approval of the foundation for all my

>>> work. I don't want it to sound dictatorish -- I'm pretty liberal for

>>> what they should be used for but my basic goals are as follows:


>>> 1. I'd like to see the community double is size as outlined by some

>>> simple metrics (i.e. number of subscribers to the listserv, number of

>>> people in the industry you are in regular contact with, number of

>>> talks in front of audiences, etc.)


>>> 2. I'd like to see the community produce some written plans that

>>> outline roadmaps for better accessibility efforts -- especially

>>> research roadmap.


>>> 3. I want to establish a standalone conference on games accessibility

>>> attached to our Games for Health Conference (so we can combine

>>> logistics and hit on overlapping communities of interest).


>>> 4. I am also specifically interested in identifying and doing what we

>>> can to nurture research into how accessibility to games improves

>>> people with disabilities mentally, socially, and physically.

>>> Eventually leading to some great empirical and evidence based

>>> research published - to the extent we don't already have this.


>>> Beyond those goals I look to everyone here in the community to really

>>> drive things. So the restriction is the production of a plan that

>>> seems smartly aimed toward these goals. Within that framework the

>>> funds can support travel subsidies, creating really nice brochures,

>>> improved Web site content and access, etc.


>>> I've already discussed the gist of this with Michelle and I've asked

>>> her to produce with everyones help the plan and present it to me

>>> before the end of the year. The funds are for 2008 and 2009.


>>> Games Accessibility Conference

>>> I am very serious as I've said before in establishing a one-day

>>> conference on games accessibility along side our Games for Health

>>> Conference. We have facilities, hotel blocks, registration systems,

>>> logistical support, massive PR support, already in place for this.


>>> The date to hold this would be May 7, 2008 which is the day before

>>> Games for Health opens. It would be a one day conference with a

>>> single track to start and a demo area. We would also probably

>>> feature 2 sessions on accessibility at Games for Health on Thursday

>>> and Friday. I hope this date works for everyone as much as possible

>>> - I can't really move it. Hopefully it just works as best it can.

>>> In 2009 we hope to have more flexibility for you.


>>> I want the SIG to take on the role of developing the content. My

>>> only stipulation is 25% of the content MUST be focused on talks that

>>> explore how accessibility technologies, research, and efforts can be

>>> applied to health for people with permanent, temporary, or on-setting

>>> disabilities. The rest of the content can be focused on core needs,

>>> case studies, research, etc. that will improve the accessibility of

>>> games in general for any purpose -- especially entertainment.


>>> Speakers would attend for free. All other registrants would be

>>> charged an amount <$200 to attend. My goal is that the event be

>>> break-even or even profitable within itself. I would share 50% of

>>> the profits from the event back to the SIG by adding it to the grant

>>> funds we have available. The other funds if there is a profit would

>>> be reinvested for planning the following year, etc.


>>> We very much want to make this event happen. The Robert Wood Johnson

>>> Foundation team we work with has someone on it with deep contacts in

>>> the accessibility community and is going to talk with a variety of

>>> government agencies involved with accessibility to drive them to

>>> support this event. That becomes a doorway to driving them to

>>> support more pervasive accessibility activities.


>>> We will be promoting this event heavily to all our attendees. We

>>> will be filming parts of it, we will make an expo area available to

>>> showcase work, and we will have dedicated PR staff on the event.


>>> The event is to be held in Baltimore, MD which is served by Southwest

>>> Airlines which makes it pretty inexpensive to get to. We are also

>>> quite proximate to the federal government which is a big plus. We've

>>> got two hotels blocked out and we're searching for an ultra

>>> inexpensive block as well.


>>> My goal is to have 50-100 people attend the event. My hopes are

>>> 25-50% stay over for the rest of our event that week so yes from a

>>> total transparency standpoint I'm hoping this increases my

>>> conference's core profitability. Win-win.


>>> If there is a good sense we can pull of the conference idea as

>>> planned I want to make it part of our conference announcements in the

>>> coming weeks. I also will be including games accessibility in our

>>> call for content next week. We expect to then forward those papers

>>> to a committee formed here to accept and mold that content. I will

>>> advise you on content just from my experience of organizing events

>>> but other then the 25% requirement I really leave it to you as the

>>> experts to decide what will be important for people to hear and learn

>>> from.



>>> So hopefully you're still digesting this all but the reason I'm

>>> writing this all and providing as much information as I can is I need

>>> the following help - please reply to the list with your thoughts:


>>> 1. I do need general feedback - ask questions, provide comments, I

>>> will do my best to answer them.


>>> 2. I need NAMES of people you think are in a position or at

>>> organizations in a position to possibly decide to match our funds. I

>>> really want our funds to catalyze others to chip in. There is no

>>> reason this can't eventually snowball to generate over $100,000 or

>>> more in due time. At least that's my hope.


>>> I am already reaching out to Microsoft, Intel, Cisco, IBM and a few

>>> others. The early reception has been ok but until we release this

>>> more publicly I expect things to be slow to develop. If you give me

>>> more names I'll follow up hard.



>>> The basic outline for this all for me is as follows:


>>> 1. I want to announce the funds and the goals for them before Xmas.

>>> My goal is we have 2 other funders matching 50% or more of the funds

>>> by then so they can be named in the Press Release.


>>> 2. I want to then announce in the press release that the original

>>> funders are challenging anyone else with resources to join this

>>> funding -- as part of this I was thinking it'd be cool to setup an

>>> individual fundraising effort too - let gamers, and individual

>>> developers provide funds to match the larger gifts.


>>> 3. In order to accomplish points 1 & 2 the goal would be to have a

>>> basic plan in place because the core goals of that plan would be

>>> articulated to the public so they can understand what the funds will

>>> hopefully accomplish. Ultimately if we raised enough my hopes are it

>>> would accomplish funding development of more accessibility

>>> technologies, standards, and SDKs to make it easier for all game

>>> developers to put these features in their games. I also hope it

>>> might fund prototypes or games that are specific for people with

>>> disabilities like some of the audio only games we've seen from the

>>> community thus far.



>>> I've been following the work of the SIG and all of you here for

>>> sometime. As I've said many times the work here is extremely

>>> relevant to the work I do on serious games, and games for health.

>>> I've been hoping to bring some funds to the table to help and while

>>> it's not as much as I wanted if I can parlay it with your help into a

>>> large enough amount it hopefully can help be the fuel for the spark

>>> you've more then created.


>>> Thank you all,


>>> Ben





>>> _______________________________________________

>>> games_access mailing list

>>> games_access at igda.org

>>> http://seven.pairlist.net/mailman/listinfo/games_access

>> .......................................

>> these are mediocre times and people are

>> losing hope. it's hard for many people

>> to believe that there are extraordinary

>> things inside themselves, as well as

>> others. i hope you can keep an open

>> mind.

>> -- "unbreakable"

>> .......................................

>> _______________________________________________

>> games_access mailing list

>> games_access at igda.org

>> http://seven.pairlist.net/mailman/listinfo/games_access



>games_access mailing list

>games_access at igda.org


these are mediocre times and people are
losing hope. it's hard for many people
to believe that there are extraordinary
things inside themselves, as well as
others. i hope you can keep an open
-- "unbreakable"

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