Steve Saylor against a backdrop of gold sparkles, titled GAconf (IGDA-GASIG) Awards 23

The 2023 edition of the GAconf Awards once again recognised and celebrated the efforts of people across and around game development to raise the bar for accessibility.

This year we had 19 categories, shortlisted by an expert panel, with winners decided on by a combination of public and jury vote. 

The winners of the GAconf Awards were revealed on Wed Jan 24th by the inimitable Steve Saylor together with a host of special guests.

You can watch the full ceremony on the IGDA-GASIG YouTube Channel, with audio description, ASL, BSL, and full captions in English, Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese.  

This year’s finalists and winners, together with links to why they’re nominated, were:

AAA excellence

Accessibility in a game made on big budget / by a big team

Mortal Kombat 1

Forza Motorsport

Diablo IV

Winner: Forza Motorsport

Indie excellence

Accessibility in a game made on a small budget / by a small team

Stories of Blossom

Stray Gods

Moving Out 2

Winner: Stories of Blossom

Best Deaf/HoH accessibility

Accessibility for players who are Deaf or hard of hearing

Melatonin timing assist, metronome, flexible hit window, flexible early/late scoring

Dead by Daylight terror radius visualisation

Hi-Fi Rush rhythm visualised by design, with customisable appearance and optional extra visualisation bar

Winner: Hi-Fi Rush

Best physical/mobility accessibility

Accessibility for players with motor impairment

Stories of Blossom playable with two keys

Forza Motorsport wide range of assists

Street Fighter 6 modern control option and and dynamic control option

Winner: Street Fighter 6

Best blind/low vision accessibility

Accessibility for players with low/no vision

Mortal Kombat 1 accessible to totally blind players, including audio description for gameplay events

Forza Motorsport accessible to totally blind players, including audio description for gameplay events

Stories of Blossom accessible to totally blind players, including audio description for gameplay events

Winner: Forza Motorsport

Best cognitive accessibility

Accessibility for neurodiversity and cognitive/learning disability

Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR extensive VR sim sickness comfort considerations both by default and through settings

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor conversation history, highly configurable game speed, sim sickness toggles, auto QTEs, auto switch/lock target, incremental hint system, nav assist

Dead Space configurable UI, 1 button QTEs, minimal weapon management, logs, sim sickness toggles, clear objectives, affordances & funnelling in level design, nav assist

Winner: Star Wars: Jedi Survivor

Best mental health accessibility

Accessibility for trauma, phobia, and other mental health conditions

Dead Space content warning & hiding system, and advance warnings on website

Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores thalassophobia setting

Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR fear of heights grid

Winner: Dead Space

Best representation

Representation of disabled characters

Moving Out 2 wheelchairs for all avatars

Spider-Man 2 playable Deaf character, with ASL interpreting and simulated hearing loss

Hi-Fi Rush Positive representation of prosthetics integrated with narrative

Winner: Spider-Man 2

Best journalism

Article about game accessibility

Speech Accessibility in Multiplayer and Co-op as a Person Who Stutters, by Patrycja Polowczyk

Why Gaming Is So Important to Players With Chronic Pain, by Geoffrey Bunting

“Danger Dumplings”: How Arachnophobia Inspired a New Type of Gaming Innovation, by Grant Stoner

Winner: “Danger Dumplings”: How Arachnophobia Inspired a New Type of Gaming Innovation, by Grant Stoner

Best academic research

Published academic paper on game accessibility

Audio description in video games? Persons with visual disabilities weigh in, by María Eugenia Larreina-Morales & Carme Mangiron

Mathematics and Sign Language Learning With a Tangible Game: An Inclusive Approach for DHH and Hearing Children, by Cátia Casimiro, José Carlos Neves & Carla Sousa

Evaluating Accessible Navigation for Blind People in Virtual Environments, by Manuel Piçarra, André Rodrigues, & João Guerreiro

Winner: Audio description in video games? Persons with visual disabilities weigh in, by María Eugenia Larreina-Morales & Carme Mangiron

Hardware accessibility

New or improved accessibility tech

Xbox keyboard remapping, map controller buttons on Elite 2 / Xbox Adaptive Controller to keyboard keys on console & PC

September PS5 update adding assist controller (split controls across two controllers) and menu haptics

iOS 17 adding simple UI mode and the ability to map accessibility switches to a virtual game controller

Winner: September PS5 update 

Best resource

Resource for players or resource for developers

Xbox Playbook for Accessible Gaming Events, extensive documentation on how to make events accessible

Xbox Adaptive Controller user-guide, extensive resources on how to get started with and use the XAC, including a series of walk-through videos and simplified text based info

Tolk for GMS, adds support for multiple screenreaders to Game Maker Studio

Winner: Xbox Playbook for Accessible Gaming Events

Best comms/marketing

Efforts to share & promote accessibility work with the community, and to share & promote in an accessible way

Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown accessibility info & interview shared alongside the game’s announcement, 7 months before launch

PlayStation Access Controller consultant stories personal stories of disabled consultants who supported development of the controller, sharing their set-ups and how it changed the way they play

Ubisoft Forward live studio event with captions, ASL and audio description, and trailers captioned in 14 languages

PlayStation Access Controller consultant stories

Most improved

Progress through patches, mods, or remakes/remasters

Brok the InvestiGator patch adding full blind accessibility to a multi-genre game (point & click adventure and side scrolling brawler) 

Sea of Thieves series of updates including blind-accessible FPS shooting, Safer Seas relaxed game mode, environmental audio cues, and narration improvements

Dead Space remake adding 2D map, configurable subtitle presentation, configurable interface, content warning & hiding system, remapping, switch holds to toggles, single button QTEs, aim assist, menu narration, sim sickness considerations, and broad difficulty settings

Winner: Dead Space 

Greatest accessibility innovation

New steps forward for the industry

Forza Motorsport blind-accessible AAA racing

Sea of Thieves blind-accessible AAA FPS shooting

Dead Space content warning & hiding system

Winner: Forza Motorsport

Most dedicated publisher

The publisher making the most significant or most consistent efforts

PlayStation Studios, e.g. Spider-Man 2, Horizon: Call of the MountainHorizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores

Xbox Games Studios, e.g. Forza Motorsport, Hi-Fi Rush, Minecraft Legends, Age of Empires 2 – Definitive Edition

Ubisoft, e.g. Ubisoft ForwardAssassins Creed Mirage, Assassins Creed Nexus VR, The Crew MotorfestOddballers, Anno 1800

Winner: Ubisoft

Most dedicated studio

The studio making the most significant or most consistent efforts

Insomniac Games – Spider-Man 2, continuing their prior run of Spider-Man, Miles Morales and Ratchet & Clank

Ubisoft Kyiv – developing accessibility features for games all across Ubisoft’s portfolio

Softleaf Studios – Stories Of Blossom, excelling in all areas of accessibility and developed by a micro-indie

Winner – Softleaf Studios

MVP award for unsung hero

An individual developer without a large public presence making significant and consistent efforts internally within a company (this can include people working in accessibility roles)

Topher Winward, Rare – developer without accessibility in his job title who goes all the way to advocate for it

Sam Schaffel, Insomniac – consistently great work on Spider-Man 2, as well as significant contributions to the Access controller

Jessica Roache, Ubisoft – driving accessibility comms & marketing, setting a lead that others in the industry are now following

Winner: Jessica Roache

The advocacy award

This award can be someone either in a development role or not – anyone who is an advocate using their voice to make a difference across the wider industry


Elisabeth “Arevya” Sivertsen

Kolo Jones

Winner: SightlessKombat