[games_access] Games for Health to Invest in Games Accessibility

Robert Florio arthit73 at cablespeed.com
Sat Nov 17 14:04:03 EST 2007

Sounds cool Eelke maybe tried to get game developers to come to us to
research to get their games more accessible. Something that I was thinking
of also that would be good if we didn't have the resources to do it


-----Original Message-----
From: games_access-bounces at igda.org [mailto:games_access-bounces at igda.org]
On Behalf Of Eelke Folmer
Sent: Friday, November 16, 2007 2:15 PM
To: IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List
Subject: Re: [games_access] Games for Health to Invest in Games


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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