SpecialEffect visits Square Enix to talk Accessibility

The accessibility charity explains their goals of inclusion through technology and gave staff a hands-on with accessible controllers.
By Square Enix

Videogames are amazing, and everyone should be able to play them.

That’s why accessibility is so important - adding options opens the door for people with disabilities and ensures everyone can enjoy amazing stories, rich worlds, and other wonderful things the medium has to offer.

Today is Global Accessibility Awareness Day, which gives us the perfect opportunity to highlight the amazing work of SpecialEffect. This charity is committed to improving inclusion through technology, helping develop new methods of control, educating both individuals and businesses about the importance of accessibility and much more besides.

The SpecialEffect team recently visited Square Enix’s London HQ to talk to staff about accessibility and the work they do to help gamers with physical disabilities, and how the industry can work towards greater inclusion. Take a look:

For audio described version, click here

Square Enix staff were given a hands-on with Sony’s Access Controller for PS5 and shown different setups for players with disabilities across various games, including FINAL FANTASY VII REBIRTH.

Traditional controllers can be quite difficult to use for some players, for example those with cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, or people who have experienced a stroke or brain injury. Alternative devices like the Access Controller and Microsoft’s Xbox Adaptive Controller offer a way for these players to set control methods to their own needs, from button layouts to orientation, and much more.

Liam from Special Effect Demoing Xbox's Adaptive Controller set up with Female Square Enix Employee

The demonstration helped staff understand the potential that these devices - and accessibility options in general - have for players. As Community Manager Edwin Chuah said:

“I had a great time playing through FINAL FANTASY VII REBIRTH whilst putting myself in the shoes of someone who would use the controller, and the big takeaway is that this will enable someone out there to also enjoy it.”

Backend Developer Luca Fruzza said:

I really loved it!

While the controllers were created to make the gaming experience more accessible, they’ve also pushed the boundary of the game / player interface, resulting in amazing new tactile ways for everyone to experience games!”

Jacob from Special Effect demoing Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth and PlayStation Access adaptive controller to Male Square Enix employee while a Female employee observes from behind.

So, a big thank you to SpecialEffect for the demonstration. Of course, educating companies is only one of the amazing things the charity does. Their team of occupational therapists and gaming specialists help create bespoke control setups for hundreds of individuals each year - everything from modified controllers to eye-tracking.

Their remit goes beyond gaming too, as they seek other innovative ways to use technology, such as improving communication for those in intensive care units or using telepresence robots to connect isolated children with friends and educators.

It’s a valuable mission, and if you’d like to know more about it, head over to the official SpecialEffect website: