How can a trade fair like gamescom help to draw the attention of more developers to the target group of people with disabilities and to launch games that can be played by everyone?
Falk: Computer and video games are a social and inclusive medium. They bring people of all ages and backgrounds together. Games make it possible to overcome limitations, immerse in fantastic worlds together and share adventures with others. That’s what makes gamescom such an experience.
The gamescom trade fair is the world’s biggest event for computer and video games. Not only does it showcase the latest games and trends, it also serves as a meeting point for a diverse group of people who come together to share their fascination with games, to play together and experience the game culture in all of its glory. The gamescom trade fair is open to all game fans and it is also accessible. This makes it possible for every gamer, with or without disabilities, to participate in the event. We want to take a stand together with partners like the Aktion Mensch (a German nationwide social lottery that provides support for non-profit organizations working in the field of disability, as well as more generally supporting inclusion in society). We also facilitate communication between gamers with disabilities and companies. As was the case this year when Dennis Winkens, online editor, and face of the "Neue Nähe" Aktion Mensch campaign (English: New Closeness) was able to compare notes with a startup company for input devices for gamers with disabilities.
Will accessibility become even more important in the future because today’s gamer generation is also getting older plus the fact that older people ultimately also benefit from more accessibility?
Falk: Of course! The number of gamers in Germany keeps growing. By now, half of Germany’s population plays computer and video games. At the moment, the fastest growing target audience is people over 50. That’s why accessibility will also be an important issue in the future. What’s more, games can be utilized in another important field: namely medicine. Today, dementia prevention programs or therapeutic training can be supported by computer and video games. Senior citizens can use games to boost their mental and physical health. Respective pilot projects are already being implemented in senior citizen centers.
What does inclusion mean to you?
Falk: For me, inclusion means the equal treatment and, above all, the integration of people with disabilities. I did my community (civilian) service (called "Zivildienst" in German. It was the alternative option to military service until the suspension of conscription in 2011) in a home for mentally and physically challenged persons and experienced first-hand how a relationship marked by openness and mutual support can benefit everyone.