The gaming community, developers and publishers are beginning to embrace accessibility as a core part of business and hobby, but there is a long way to go. A report on the needs and habits of disabled players in the UK suggests that millions of people around the world regularly face difficulties in how they play, purchase, or otherwise enjoy the game.
Performed by disability advocacy organization Scope and compellingly referenced by Eurogamer contributor Vivek Gohil, the study polled 1,326 people (812 disabled, 514 not disabled) on the problems they faced in the gaming world.
Two-thirds said they face barriers to gaming, usually the availability or affordability of assistive technology. Many people say they have avoided buying games because of a lack of accessibility options, or haven’t been able to play (or return) games that lacked such options.
Interestingly, gamers with disabilities are significantly more likely to purchase in-game items, watch esports, and otherwise engage with different platforms. As Gohil points out, within the UK itself there are around 14 million people with billions in disposable income; A large proportion of whom are active gamers, valued at that; Yet they are rarely considered for in-game or the demographic value involved in-game.
That seems to be changing as more major developers realize that accessibility options make their games better for everyone. major titles like new Ratchet and Clank, The Last of Us: Part II, And forza horizon 5 A variety of habitats are included for everything from colorblindness to gameplay slowdowns and nuanced difficulty options.
Better hardware is also on the way as smaller companies produce accessories for many different needs, and of course Microsoft’s Xbox Adaptive Controller has been a big hit for those who can’t use traditional controllers. .
The company recently hosted an inclusion-focused esports tournament in association with Special Olympics.
But they will be the first to admit that more needs to be done, and it’s not all engineering and development. The Scope study found that in-game chat, notoriously toxic at the best of times, is positively terrifying when people with disabilities are involved. In fact “doing more to tackle negative attitudes online about disability” was the most common priority cited by respondents. Greater representation of people with disabilities in sports, and more affordable assistive technology were also considered important.
The need for better accessibility in the gaming world is clear, but it is difficult to assess – so studies like this are particularly valuable. You can read the full report here,