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Designing for Gamers with Deafness - Tom Lorusso, Microsoft - #GamesUR London 2016

Published on 15 Nov 2021 / In Gaming Design

Everyone working on games has a similar goal: to get as many people to play their game as possible. Part of Games User Research is to break down barriers and help improve experiences to reach that goal. But often the focus of those efforts is too limiting. It doesn’t include feedback from, and design consideration for those who don’t meet the typical idea of a “gamer”. One of these growing groups is gamers with deafness. These are gamers with some sort of reduced hearing, but who are still as passionate and dedicated to gaming as anyone else.

This talk will review a case study where the Xbox Platform User Research team interviewed online console gamers with deafness, to get their feedback on games, gaming, and how their experience could be improved.

From this study and other data, it is clear that both games and gaming platforms are not meeting the current needs of this audience. They can be discouraged from playing (and buying!) more, feel alienated from their friends, or just drop off online or console play all together.

This talk will give you insights into the experiences of trying to game online on a console, and provide potential recommendations for your game and platform. And help attendees better understand this audience and why inclusivity is so important to their experience, and their business model.

Tom Lorusso
Tom is a Senior User Research Lead at Microsoft focused on Xbox and gaming across Windows products and devices. Tom has been working in games for over 7 years, with 15 years in the User research field on phones, operating systems and portable ultrasound. Tom and the User Research team for Xbox Experiences tackle a variety of research questions for areas including social gaming, community, monetization, communication, cross platform gaming, video consumption, accessibility and inclusivity. Tom is currently addicted to Hearthstone and is still recovering from an ill-fated attempt to play Halo 5 Warzone, Destiny and Battlefront all at the same time.

Videos are owned by the IGDA GURSIG Conference Committee. This content cannot be copied, re-uploaded, edited or used for any purpose beyond educational use. All footage posted with permission from the author.

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