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Blizzard to champion diversity at BlizzCon 2018

Inclusion Nexus to feature talks from LGBT community, people with disabilities, the Women's Advisory Council, and the Blizzard Veterans Group

With BlizzCon 2018 fast approaching, Blizzard Entertainment has revealed additional steps it's taking to facilitate inclusivity and accessibility.

The Inclusion Nexus is a new area of the convention and, with a capacity of 200 and an open-house format, will include speakers from the LGBT community, people with disabilities, the Women's Advisory Council, and the Blizzard Veterans Group.

Speaking with Polygon, Blizzard diversity and inclusion leader Kelly Stevens described it like a TED talk, where people listen to stories from the community.

"These are individuals that are coming to tell their story, and none of them are on the other panels... It's something new that we're looking forward to this year, the folks internally can't wait to share their perspective with the Blizzard community," she said.

Accessibility doesn't stop at the Inclusion Nexus though, and Blizzard aims to go "beyond ADA compliance" throughout BlizzCon 2018.

Not only will there be three sign language interpreters on-site, there will be faster queues, readily available listening device, wheelchair seating at stages, and an accessibility kiosk.

Furthermore, Blizzard is continuing to offer its Virtual Ticket, which grants remote access to many of the BlizzCon offerings, and will include closed captions and subtitles on all video content.

"Blizzard's a global company, we have people in a lot of countries; last year, our virtual ticket audience came from over 180 countries," executive producer Saralyn Smith told Polygon.

"Inclusivity and accessibility is very important to us; it's a huge priority for Blizzard and BlizzCon. Our number one goal this year is making BlizzCon as welcoming to as many people and players in our community as possible."

The improved accessibility comes after president Mike Morhaime reiterated its importance during the opening ceremony of BlizzCon 2017.

"No matter who we are, or where we're from, we're all here for the same reason," he said. We have a shared love of games, and their story and characters.

"We're here because of the relationships we've built and fostered through gaming. There are no strangers at BlizzCon, only friends you haven't met yet."

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Ivy Taylor: Ivy joined in 2017 having previously worked as a regional journalist, and a political campaigns manager before that. They are also one of the UK's foremost Sonic the Hedgehog apologists.
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