A mini-series with Philousports to promote the accessibility of video games to people with disabilities

The 5-episode mini-series, shot in collaboration with Xbox France, tells how Philousports, a famous Twitter user with myopathy, was able to return to playing video games thanks to solutions adapted to his pathology.


Life slapped him in the face, he replied with GIFs. The formula is signed Philousports. Suffered from a myopathy which prevents him from walking and a tracheostomy which tires him when he speaks, Philippe, who lives in Corsica, is one of the stars of Twitter with 260,000 subscribers who relish his jokes on sport and topicality than his animated images, which he draws at unparalleled speed. This loyal supporter of Olympique de Marseille is at the heart of a mini-series of five episodes published on YouTube between March 15 and 24, and shot in collaboration with Xbox France and the organization CapGame.

In “Philou joins the party”, he describes in a funny and touching way his difficulties in satisfying his passion for video games, which have long been his main activity on a daily basis, and which he could not play for years.

Philousports could not play for 4 to 5 years

Among the brakes preventing the twitto from playing, the weight represented by the controller. “Over time, my hands and fingers lacked mobility. For 4, 5 years I could no longer play because it had become impossible to press the different buttons and we know how much everything goes through the controller ”.

It was the “GIF Zidane” himself who contacted CapGame, an association specializing in access to video games for people with disabilities and then Xbox France to try to find a normal practice.

The idea then emerged to tell its relationship to video games and to explain the solutions to allow victims of pathology to access gaming in a voluntarily positive mini-series. “We had been in contact for some time. It just happened naturally. We had the same desire to see Philou get back to video games ”, explains Ina Gelbert, director of Xbox France.

An ideal ambassador for the accessibility of video games

According to figures from INSEE from 2016, France has nearly 12 million people with disabilities. Through these videos and his personal case, the native Marseillais wanted to raise the question of the practice of gaming by audiences with physical disorders: “The interest for me was to highlight accessibility in video games. I felt a real lack and had a real need to replay ”.

Followed by a large community on social networks and conveying positive values, Philou was the ideal ambassador for this cause. “He has that communicative joie de vivre that we see on Twitter. He is an exceptional person, you can feel it in the videos. In his eyes, his words, the way he expresses himself, it’s communicative ”, describes Ina Gelbert.

A special facility to help him play

The videos of four minutes each therefore recount the difficulties encountered by Philou in playing video games and the solutions offered to him to overcome them. “We thought it would be good to tell this story from scratch until the final result of the installation”, remembers the one who is voiced in the miniseries by an actor with a voice that you will immediately recognize.

It is quite a work that was carried out by the teams of Xbox France, and those of CapGame to set up a device adapted to the pathology of Philou. Everything goes through a controller designed by Microsoft, the Xbox Adaptative Controller, priced at 99 euros.

“The controller was marketed in 2018. It is the result of an internal project. At Microsoft, you can submit projects. If it wins a lot of votes, Microsoft allocates resources to develop it. The adaptive controller was acclaimed. This controller is a hub that replaces the standard controller ”, describes the director of Xbox France.

Use your functioning body parts

Concretely, the adaptive device has many ports to connect different accessories according to the needs of the player. Tools often developed by specialized associations like CapGame. For Philou, the challenge was to put in place a device allowing him to compensate for his loss of mobility in the hands and fingers by making use of the parts of his body that are functioning.

“They gave me the possibility of deporting buttons at the level of the head, which allows me, by moving it, to make passes for example. I can also have push buttons which are hyper sensitive and reactive and which allow me not to have any delay in my actions ”, he describes.

A cover on Fifa 21

After several years without playing, Philousports was finally able to resume the game. And of course, it was on Fifa 21 that this football fan rediscovered the sensations of gaming. “What a treat! I had tears in my eyes, you can’t imagine what it feels like to become an actor again instead of a spectator ”, he enthuses.

But the accessibility of video games also goes through the settings in the menus of the consoles. Thus, each gamer can configure his console according to his handicap. “There are two angles to take into account the handicap in the video game: the visible handicap, physical, and the invisible handicap which can concern the hearing and the sight, ddress Ina Gelbert. In the latter case, we will give access to settings that allow you to adapt the brightness, the sound settings or make the instructions appear as a subtitle in the game ”.

The miniseries reflects an awareness of the video game industry in recent years. In 2019, Microsoft had developed the Xbox Accessibility Guidelines, a set of advice intended for publishers to support them in the development of titles accessible to all audiences. “We make them available to all studios. These are guidelines that we give to help them from the start, so that it is more fluid and natural ”, adds the director of Xbox France.

To continue to reconcile handicap and gaming, Philousports and Xbox France should extend their collaboration. “There is still work to do! At a time when we talk a lot about inclusion, this is precisely one of the roles of video games. It’s a great way to escape, but also, we think about it less, of rehabilitation, and above all the fact of no longer feeling excluded… That’s one of the most important things ”, explains the king of GIF.

In addition to promoting the inclusion of players with disabilities, Xbox France intends to work on other societal themes in parallel, such as the place given to women in gaming and online violence, with in particular the desire to regulate vocabulary in chats between players.


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