[games_access] Games for Health to Invest in Games Accessibility

Ben Sawyer bsawyer at dmill.com
Fri Nov 16 17:24:01 EST 2007

I think our offer to do the day before as a standalone daylong
conference in May 2008 works - we will take care of everything but
content. We're prepared already to do it. I just need conference
material. We're assuming all the financial risk.

- Ben

On Nov 16, 2007, at 5:17 PM, <hinn at uiuc.edu> wrote:

> A couple comments -- I agree that it would be nice if we could have

> a ways to see how many games we have directly impacted. This is

> something like what Microsoft Research does as an alternative job

> evaluation mechanism for those who largely work on a single project

> that on it's own isn't "sellable" but is something that they can

> show directly impacts, say, 1 game, excel, word, and 4 more

> products. I don't see this as something to judge the "whole SIG" on

> but it is one thing that could add to the overall picture.


> A conference by May 2008 might be tough -- this is something to

> discuss. But an option is doing what other conferences have had

> their start doing -- have those of us already doing research give

> our papers but then the following year focus on getting more people

> outside of the SIG through a submission process. Also, the IGDA is

> very supportive of our SIG (and others) having a conference and

> Jason has said that the management group they work with could also

> help with all the stuff that's "too much" for us (ie, the

> registrations, hotel space rentals, etc). That was we don't have

> another E for All situation where I learn "all the things we never

> wanted to know about expos" and then I'm personally out $5 grand. :|


> Michelle


> ---- Original message ----

>> Date: Fri, 16 Nov 2007 11:14:59 -0800

>> From: Eelke Folmer <eelke.folmer at gmail.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>


>> Hi,


>> This is great news! good job!


>> - A good metric for this SIG's success could also be the number of

>> games that we were able to make more accessible. (Not by us but by

>> game developers).

>> - I am submitting a number of NSF proposals with the sole purpose to

>> gain more insights and understanding on what makes games more

>> accessible. I can share my personal research roadmap with you off the

>> mailinglist if you want.

>> - standalone conference; I welcome a research oriented conferences,

>> since there is plenty of research to do in this area and It would be

>> nice to get more researchers involved in this SIG. I would go but I

>> don't know whether we can attract the number of people that we would

>> like by as early as next may 2008. I know some researchers that do

>> work in game accessibility but are not part of the SIG.


>> Cheers Eelke



>> On Nov 16, 2007, at 5:54 AM, Ben Sawyer wrote:


>>> 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





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>>> games_access at igda.org

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

> 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"

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

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