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New Accessibility Feature The Game Awards 2020

 The Game Awards 2020 Introducing New Accessibility Feature

The Game Awards 2020 host and creator Geoff Keighley confirms that this year's show will feature an optional audio descriptive mode.

The Game Awards 2020 is set to go live in just four days. It's the biggest awards event of the holiday season, and is guaranteed to be full of reveals and announcements. For a show as big as The Game Awards 2020, accessibility is important, as enabling as many video game fans to enjoy the show is a part of embracing the gaming community. As such, Geoff Keighley has confirmed a new feature being used for this year's livestream: an audio descriptive mode.

During audio descriptive videos and broadcasts, a narrator provides a moment-to-moment description of what is happening onscreen. It's like an audiobook version of the video, allowing those speaking to do so while filling in the details of what happens otherwise. The purpose is to translate what's happening visually into an audio form. It allows those who are visually impaired or blind to have a more robust experience, and is a major focus for accessibility advocates.

Audio description is a growing trend in the gaming industry, and one that is clearly for the better. For example, both Ubisoft and Xbox have been uploading game trailers featuring audio descriptive modes for some time. Assassin's Creed Valhalla, Scott Pilgrim: The Game, Riders Republic, and Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Breakpoint have uploaded trailers with audio description, for example. Microsoft also provided an audio descriptive mode for the entirety of its July Xbox Games Showcase event.

New Accessibility Feature The Game Awards 2020

The Game Awards 2020 are making a strong effort to accommodate accessibility issues this year. The event even has an award specifically for games regarding their accessibility efforts. The "Innovation in Accessibility" award is meant to encourage pushing the video game medium forward, and nominees include Assassin's Creed Valhalla, Grounded, The Last of Us Part 2, Watch Dogs Legion, and Hyperdot. It makes sense The Game Awards itself would also put forth a greater effort to be accessible.

The only limitation with this audio descriptive mode for The Game Awards 2020 is that it is currently only set to be available on Youtube. It's unclear if Facebook, Twitch, and other platforms don't support the feature, or if there's a different limitation keeping this from being used more widely for now.

Regardless, having access to an audio descriptive mode at all is a boon. The Game Awards is confirmed to be working with the organization Descriptive Video Works, a partner of companies including Netflix and the Motion Picture Association.

The Game Awards 2020 air on December 10 at 4:00 p.m. PT.

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