Is Enough Being Done For “Disabled” Gamers?

"Christmas day, I was sat in front of the TV. Glass of eighteen-year scotch in one hand, controller in the other.

“Surely this is a piece of cake” I thought to myself as I settled down on a bean bag in front of the TV and prepared myself to have a go at Ridge Racer 6, which my nephew had received for Christmas. (Please note, I only drink-drive with my games, never try it in real life, it’s silly and dangerous, and I in no way condone it.

I know what you’re thinking – why are you telling us about what sounds like a boring Christmas day?

Well, it got me thinking. How the hell do you play with one hand?!" - TGC

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EddieNX 1967d ago

How the hell do you play with one hand ? A wii remote or a move......

MastaPiff1967d ago

No they sure don't do enough for handicapped gamers and it's a shame IMO. The arguement that they should have to play on a PC to get customizable layouts is ridiculous. Console games have had custom layouts for decades but they need to allow customization access for every game. All it takes is a screen with sliders to adjust sensitivity (which the devs have already made because how else would they program the controls in the first place?!)

Games have a lot of good uses for ppl with disabilities, as far as exercising basic motor & coordination skills (in the hands & eyes for ex.) not to mention how excluding a person for not being able to do something the same way you do something (play a videogame) when that person may be able to do that better with some on screen?! adjustments!!! (I just remembered color-blind adjustments on games?!) There's a word for that: discrimination.

In this day where us consumers have to take a lot of responsibility for the sustainability of products that us consumets did not engineer or create? In a day where I have to agree to a contract every time I turn on my PS3 or a game? These dev's need to take some responsibility and stop dicriminating against some of their biggest fans who unfortunately can't experience first hand their products. Not all accomidations can be made is a fact but many simple ones can & should be. The fact that theyare rarely considered is one of the biggest things I am ashamed of as a gamer.

Color blind settings for things like maps in games, especially shooters and custom controls are 2 very simple fixes for a huge amount of the most prevalent disabilities that not being accessable in every game is unacceptable.

Devs: FIX THIS NOW!!! (serious gamer voice)

LOGICWINS1967d ago

By your reasoning, publishers would need to drop game prices down to $15 a pop in order to avoid being "discriminatory" to lower income gamers.

Also, all console manufacturers should launch consoles at $100 to appeal to these lower income people, thus ensuring that we get underpowered consoles every 4-5 years.

If u ran this industry, I'd be in the ground within two years.

ianhamilton_1966d ago (Edited 1966d ago )

In answer to the original question of how you play with one hand -

A standard controller with remappable controls so all the essential buttons can be moved to within reach of your fingers, and then operating the second stick by moving it against your body. That's how this guy (he had a stroke as a teenager and now has no control over one side of his body, but had no intention of giving up gaming) plays:

LOGICWINS1967d ago (Edited 1967d ago )

"What needs to be done is the big money companies, Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo, need to pull their finger out and stop ignoring the fact that people who are not able to use a controller at its full capacity, still want to play their games and play on these consoles."

Why they hell would they spend millions on R & D to cater to such a small part of the gaming community? We're talking about a crumb of a crumb here.

What would we do about quadriplegics who can't move from the neck down? It's just not feasible or economically sound to do this every game.

If I ever become disabled one day, I'd be more focused on getting Angelina Jolie or Priyanka Chopra to sit on my lap via Make-a-Wish than gaming tbh.

BrianC62341967d ago

I agree. He mentioned people with one hand. Well then, how about worry about people who have to play with their feet? Then there's the blind. It would be nice if all games let us remap buttons. I'm lefthanded and sometimes it would be nice if I could set the controls up better for me. Other than letting us remap the buttons though there isn't much the developers can do.

violents1967d ago

It would be far too large of a development cost to cater to the handicapped crowd. Honestly I've never heard of anyone that has a disability that keeps them from gaming, but I suppose it could happen. IMO pc gaming is the only answer for people in this situation. The ability to remap buttons or even order some special type of controller is the only answer for this.

Honestly saying that console makers are being discriminatory because they dont make console games more handicapped accesible is pretty stupid. How are they discriminating. Is General Motors discriminating handicapped people because the car you bought requires hand and foot controls? No that's why there are companies out there that manufacture mod kits to accomodate for this small group. There just simply isnt enough demand for these types of modifications for the manufacturer to bother with the R&D nessecary for retail sale of something like that.

Indo1967d ago

Interesting topic to bring up. Their should be some more support for diasbled players.

ianhamilton_1966d ago (Edited 1966d ago )

It's neither a crumb of a crumb or rare. I have twitter searches set up to look for common impairments relating to gaming and the stream of people complaining about being excluded is constant.

15-20% of the population are disabled to the degree that it causes problems in their day to day lives. There are other impairments that aren't included in that stat, eg. the 8% of males who can't distinguish red/green, the 14% of the adult population who can't read any better than an 11 year old, etc.

Many basic accessibility features are very profitable. If developed at the start rather than retrofitted they can cost very little and can benefit hundreds of thousands of customers.

Take COD:BO2, which made $1bn sales in the first 15 days. It's aimed at males, and they included a colour blind mode to avoid preventing 8% of their potential customers from being able to play.

Without that one single feature, they could have lost up to $80m sales just in the first 15 days. Do you think it cost more or less than 80 million dollars to implement the simple choice between red/green & blue/orange?

Most things just make the game better for every player, like remapping. Remapping is a great example of how medical conditions are irrelevant, it's the barriers on the developers side that are the thing to think about.

Removing that single barrier of fixed controller layouts benefits people with a huge range of medical conditions, including the various things mentioned above like having to play with your face or feet.

Accessibility means one thing alone: avoiding unnecessary barriers. Not huge R&D costs or redesigning to cater for a lowest common denominator. It means having enough awareness of what issues can occur so you can avoid making people disabled.

That's what studios often unintentionally do, cause people to be disabled. Disabilities aren’t medical conditions, you're only disabled when a medical condition comes up against a barrier that prevents you from going about your day to day life.

I've worked with many studios over the years and it is usually lack of awareness, sometimes also the assumptions in this thread, about cost, numbers and difficultly. They're the same preconceptions that any studio or gamer who doesn't yet have much knowledge about or experience with the area often has. And they are all false!

ianhamilton_1966d ago (Edited 1966d ago )

Logicwins, it's not 'if' you'll become disabled. Almost everyone does. By 65 there's a 50% chance you'll be disabled, rising dramatically past that point. Your crass comment about Anglina Jolie is quite wrong, most gamers have no intention of giving up gaming as they get older.

Violents, MastaPiff is correct about PCs. A decent gaming PC costs 10x a current gen console, neither fair or a practical option for people who are often on low incomes. Remapping was standard in console games a couple of generations ago, and is still present in many, Borderlands 2 on PS3/XBox for example, there's precisely zero reason for it not to be standard in almost all games.

Brianc6234, remapping covers alot of those. There are other things too, such as pad/stick alternatives for complex kinect gestures. Kinect games almost always have these, developers/artists/testers etc work in front of desks, not 8 foot Kinect setups, they just disable them before launch (child of eden is a great example of when they leave them in still). Controls no more complex than they need to be also helps, you don’t need to assign something to every button. A choice between toggle/hold for run is another good example that's helpful for many motor impairments.

If you're interested in the kind of things that developers can do for disabled gamers have a look at http://www.gameaccessibilit...

The "basic" section covers things that can be applied to many games for very little cost, and benefit huge numbers of gamers, regardless of whether or not they have an impairment.