8th March – Gender neutrality in kids toys and inclusivity in gaming
Mr Potato Head will lose his ‘Mr’ title
Hasbro is removing the ‘Mr’ title from Mr Potato Head, who later this year will be rebranded as simply, ‘Potato Head’. The idea is to reflect the demands of the modern consumer – one that desires more gender neutrality in their kids lives. Hasbro wants everyone to feel welcome by the Potato Head world and this is their initial effort to be more overtly inclusive. The rebranded toy will come with a variety of different body parts and clothes so that kids can customise the doll to make a Potato Head who reflects them. Some responses have been positive, with claims that this is a natural progression for classic brands, such as Barbie who once was a tall slim white blonde woman and now comes in lots of different body types and ethnicities. Other, more critical responses have labelled it as a PR stunt – either way, it’s got people talking about not only Potato Head but also the importance of gender neutrality in a modern world. With the conversation becoming increasingly more mainstream, brands must be aware of their position on the matter and the processes they have in place to support that.
Microsoft is making a move to make gaming more accessible for everyone
Microsoft states ‘When everyone plays, we all win’. To support this message they have launched a game testing program to help game developers refine their functionalities to become more accessible for the disabled community. Any Xbox or PC game will now be tested against the Xbox accessibility guidelines (XAG) by allowing those with physical impairments to play the games and give feedback. We know the importance of not assuming awareness of other peoples experiences and this is a great way to get first hand insight into how other people experience the game. Sony’s The Last of Us Part II leads the way regarding disability inclusion in gaming, providing over 60 different gaming options including, vision, hearing, motor presets, navigation aids, motion sickness, text-to-speech, combat accessibility, and more. As gaming continues to be one of the most utilised and enjoyed industries by all ages, it’s great to see that not only able bodied people will benefit from its continued success.