The U.K.-based charity SpecialEffect received $621,777 (£446,000) in donations from game companies during its annual One Special Day event in September. The charity focuses on making games more accessible to folks with disabilities. It runs other fundraisers throughout the year, and this one particular is structured so that developers and publishers can contribute 100 percent of their games’ sales on the day of the event. This year’s One Special Day will take place on September 29.
Traditional gamepads like Sony’s popular DualShock for the PlayStation 4 can be difficult for people with disabilities to use. SpecialEffect offers individualized support by creating alternative controllers to enable people who may not have use of their hands to play the games they want. Some of the equipment it gives out are modified gamepads that utilize features like voice control or eye-tracking.
Companies that participate in One Special Day commit to contributing 100 percent of their U.K. or global sales that day. The list of partners who donated in September include Codemasters, Double Fine, Electronic Arts, Playdemic, Rovio, Supercell, Sega, and Unity Technologies.
“The money raised from One Special Day 2017 will go toward employing two additional clinical staff to join our growing team of occupational therapists and technology specialists,” said SpecialEffect founder and CEO Mick Donegan in a statement. “It will also help pay for vital modifications to SpecialEffect’s national accessible games room where people with disabilities can visit to try out a huge range of hardware and software modifications.”
SpecialEffect isn’t the only charity that focuses on accessibility in games. The U.S.-based AbleGamers also gives players modified controllers, along with financial aid for folks who need help affording special game equipment. It also offers consultation to developers who want to make their titles accessible. To that end, it has put together a free 50-page document called “Includification” that contains tips like featuring customizable fonts or a colorblind mode for folks who are visually impaired.