We started in 2019 from a simple question:
“How can a blind or visually impaired person play a video game?”.
The problems we are solving are related to the huge difficulties that blind and visually impaired people have in accessing the classic digital entertainment world: they found many obstacles playing with their smartphones, laptops, or game consoles.
To overcome this gap, we developed the first gaming environment completely accessible to blind and visually impaired people.
We presented the idea to many accelerator programs and we received a first investment round (Foundamenta: SocialFare Seed, 50K, 2019). Then, we started from a hardware solution: a first prototype that enables blind people to play a table tennis game without using the screen. Users interacted with the virtual environment through motion detection sensors built-in the controller. The stereophonic sound allowed the player to understand the surrounding environment and to locate the ball in the virtual space. At the same time, the controller’s vibrations reproduce a realistic impact-like feeling between the racket and the ball.
In the following months, we also developed a mobile solution. The system included an App to be installed in the mobile phone, in order to play through the same 3D sounds and vibrations, without the overhead cost of the hardware. We also prototype a software kit for developers to create new games based on our technology. Although at first we designed our products mainly targeting blind and visually impaired people, our vision was to develop a brand new way of playing that could disrupt the way we are currently experiencing gaming, so we also included sighted individuals in our community of more then 100 beta-testers.
We won many awards and we received our first pre-seed round (Magic Wand: Digital Magics & Lazio Innova, 175K, 2020). So, we released the App with the first 5 full gaming experiences. We tested the games with our community, more than 500 people, between blind, visually impaired and sighted people, in order to make the most accessible and inclusive product we can.
Then we thought we could do something more.
Our gamers didn’t want just to play our Blind Arena game, they wanted to play DOOM. We wanted to give blind and visually impaired people the same game that everybody experiences.
We understood that we should help software houses and game developers to implement an accessible mode on their existing games, because we know that accessibility in gaming is hard, time-consuming and expensive. That is why we started to imagine a system that could help them in order to make their games accessible, pursuing our vision in a better way.
We entered a gaming accelerator program (Quickload: Microsoft & 34BigThings, 15K, 2021) and we created a new software solution.
Our tool enables developers to integrate an accessible version of their games through our 3D sounds. The technology we developed also uses machine learning and AI in order to create a fast, easy and affordable tool to improve accessibility in the gaming industry.
We started from simple games, such as 2D platforms, and now, we are exploring new gaming experiences.
In the future we will be able to give this opportunity to every software developer, because inclusion is a primary right and an opportunity to develop sustainable business models in every industry.
Everybody should be able to play, to challenge himself, to lose and to win.
That’s what we are going to do.
Would you join us in this incredible journey?
We started from a simple question: “How can a blind or visually impaired person play a videogame?”
“Can you imagine playing video games without using your eyes?”
Our journey began with this simple question. Novis Games is an innovative social impact start-up that was born in Turin (Italy) in 2019. Our mission is to make gaming completely accessible to blind and visually impaired individuals.
We started from video games, because we think that there is a huge need in the market, but we also know that by training our technology on gaming solutions, we will be able to apply it to every digital product in the next few years.