Can audio description make video gaming possible for blind and partially sighted players?

  • Zhang, Xiaochun (Principal Investigator)
  • Flack, Andrew J P (Co-Investigator)
  • Gray, Stuart (Co-Investigator)
  • Devoy, Jane (Collaborator)
  • Castelo Branco, Sonia (Collaborator)
  • Morwood , Claire (Collaborator)
  • Ramanan, Chella (Collaborator)

Project Details


Play makes us human. We play to have fun, to socialise, to learn, to de-stress, and to exercise. This project will contribute to the live well in the 21st century scheme by promoting 'living well by playing well and video gaming for all'.

Over the past few decades, video gaming has evolved into a worldwide entertainment phenomenon. There are 2.7 billion active gamers in the world who generate $174.9 billion in revenue for the gaming industry in 2020 (Newzoo, 2020). However, most video games are not accessible or fully accessible for people with disabilities, who account for 15% of the world population (WHO, 2018). Accessibility is a precondition intended to ensure that persons with a disability enjoy full and equal participation in society, which includes not only physical but also digital access to the same tools, services, organisations and facilities (United Nations, 2013). Access is an essential requirement for respecting the human dignity of all (Greco, 2016).

Game accessibility for players with sight loss is especially challenging due to the visual and interactive nature of games. Audio description (AD) is a service that "captures and translates the visual elements of a source text into spoken words" (Perego, 2018: 114), which makes (audio)visual products accessible to visually impaired users. AD has been applied to films, TV, theatre, and various cultural performances both recorded and live, which, however, has not yet been implemented in video games. This project investigates how AD can improve game accessibility by working with professional audio describers, game developers, and visually impaired gamers.
Effective start/end date1/03/2131/10/21


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