Accessibility part 2: Get your head in the game

Hi guys,

As you may remember, my last post on accessibility turned into a bit of a rant. This one might, too.
Anyway, I said I was going to talk about game accessibility, this time. This one might be short, but hopefully it will be informative.

Game accessibility:

Here’s a fact for you. According to the RNIB statistics, over 2,000,000 people live in the UK with sight loss. I should imagine that in america, its even more. So here’s my question.
Why haven’t game designers caught on, yet?
One reason, possibly, is that its just not profitable; The game industry was already estimated to make over $100,000,000,000 this year. But that doesn’t make sense, does it? I mean, companies — EA, rockstar north, etc — are all about making money. Money money money. They live money. they breathe money. they eat money for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and elevenses.
Here’s a thought. Is it because its too difficult to implement?
Aah, here’s the real crucks of it, the salt and pepper of the matter right here.
Game accessibility? Its difficult.
Accept when it isn’t.

The audio games market

Game accessibility is more common than many sighted people seem to think. No, I’m not picking on sighted people here, its something that, honestly, I’m not surprised a lot of people haven’t found. So, if you were to head on over to AGNet, you’d see a combo box on that page with over 300 games! 300!
Some of these games sell for a fair amount of money, too. Games from VGStorm, makers of paladin of the sky and other popular titles, sell for up to $45 US!
So here’s a bit of a radical idea. Why don’t we make all these mainstream titles more accessible?

Hit the road, jack!

Alright, so I’ll admit it sounds a bit fancyful to have netherrealm studios make something like mortal kombat or even the injustice games more accessible. It sounds like a lifetime away. But its possible. In fact, there are already resources. The unity accessibility plugin for example. I know myself, as a developer, that screen readers have bindings for most languages these days. There’s a hole list of them — I’m not putting it here, maybe a page in the future — and the point is, it isn’t difficult. It just isn’t.

Don’t you ever come back

Unfortunately, the response up until the recent game expo has not been posetive. Companies like valve — yes, I know they don’t make games — actually refused to talk to us. I know, I sent emails. A lot of emails. If they had been able to make their steam platform accessible, there might have been some profit. You know, that thing that companies all love.
Because people have been unwilling to think about this or even talk to us, we have lost hope. Well we did, until the recent game expo. And I’m talking about the 2017 one — yeah, that recent. The developers of maddon have actually been talking about this over on the audiogames.net forums — wow, amazing! Netherrealm have, sort of, been getting involved; I mean you have an accessibility mode in injustice. Kinda.

Indi to the rescue!

I guess the gaming industrys saving grace might be independant developers. One of particular mention is Color Chromatics, and I’m sorry, but I don’t know the actual name. Anyway, this indi dev is creating an RPG both visual, and audio. Would ya look at that!

The conclusion

Its not difficult, its just that companies aren’t willing to do it. That’s sad, really. Think back to those statistics at the beginning. 2,000,000 people. That’s a lot of people! If companies were able to do this, or were willing, that would be one hell of a profit.
I don’t know what I want the next post to be about. Do you have any suggestions? Please feel free to leave them in the comments, or mention me over on my personal twitter. Thanks for reading!

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