The Importance of accessibility in video games.

Localization = Accessibility

Just as it is important to Localize a video game based on different languages, it is also important to localize a game for people with disabilities.  Even though the majority of gamers can play the average games pretty well, there are a lot of players that have a difficult time trying to experience the full breadth of their favorite games. 

Unfortunately, this industry in the past has left these types of gamers to basically fend for themselves when it comes to game mechanics and dealing with other aspects of the game that are not normally a struggle for the average player.  

For instance, you can have a game that is heavily focused on visual cues and you can have a colorblind person struggling because they can not see certain colors for these certain mechanics in the game.  The same can go with someone that is hearing impaired that plays a game that focuses on musical or sound cues.  These certain situations may seem like little issues to the average player but can turn away gamers with disabilities.

Gamers Learning To Adapt  

In past years, some of the disabled gaming community have made up ways to play on modern controllers and input devices, especially those who  have limited use of their upper limbs. You can probably imagine being confined in a wheelchair and seeing your friends or family members play “motion games” together.  You can see how easily this type of gamer would feel left out.

If you as a gamer with disabilities, have to spend a lot of money for modifications to play a game that you would like to enjoy, it can be a nightmare.  Especially if you have little to no technology available to you. If you do have a chance to find or make the tools to help you play the game, it can be very costly.  For most in the disabled community, there are already costs outside of gaming for them to have a decent lifestyle.  For video game entertainment, that could be an added cost and a burden to them.

To  put it in perspective, try not listening to your favorite game for a one play session and see how far you can get by following your eyes. How about a blindfold and just listen to the audio? That is just a taste of what this community consistently deals with. But the amazing and satisfying thing is that even though there are challenges for them to play, this community will always find a way to play and is just as passionate about gaming as others.

How Companies and Devs Can Help

Now, this does not mean that gaming companies and developers are off the hook.  There should be methods and ways to make our favorite games easier for the disabled community. For example: there should be controllers that are specially made for these players or customizable input devices.  Microsoft has already spearheaded this avenue with their new adaptive input controller. It won’t be long until other game companies will follow along their footsteps as well.

There are other game devs and companies that are helping out. Upcoming games are implementing accessibility options for gamers with certain impairments to have their gaming sessions more tolerable and enjoyable. Disabled players are also praising gaming subscriptions because instead of buying individual games for over $60 or more, they can enjoy a huge catalogue of games at a low price of little over $10.  Logitech is also making one of the first esports tournaments for disabled gamers coming this fall as well. 

There is also a list of resources that a disabled gamer can look through to see if a certain game is right for them or not.  This could help greatly if they want to spend money on a certain gaming product built with them in mind.  This is another reason why it is important for companies to start implementing methods for these types of players. Not only will companies miss out on players, they will miss out on potential business avenues,  success, partnerships and praise for supporting groups like these.

Let’s Make Games Accessible For All

It is a challenging process when it comes to making a game to implement different ways for players to have an enjoyable experience. However, it is important for game devs and companies to make sure to keep disabled gamers as part of the process.  The more people we as an industry include into our games, the better off we will be.  Even though there has been a starting trend to bring the disabled community into gaming, let’s embrace them as the players that we know they are. Let’s make these games accessible for all.

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