Please consider joining this academic workshop about game accessibilty.
Please consider joining this academic workshop about game accessibilty.
24 hours of free online accessibility talks for Global Accessibility Awareness Day, including three on accessibility in gaming:
As promised, here are Game Accessibility resources and meeting notes from our roundtable discussion at GDC 2016. Please note: It is a slightly updated version of the list posted on our mail list a few days ago, and edited for better readability.
If you would like to stay plugged in with the group and its activities, join the mailing list. If you are interested in getting involved, take a look at the GA-SIG Action Plan and see if there is anything that you would like to work on. Please consider myself (chad [at] anacronist.com), Ian (i_h [at] hotmail.com), and Thomas (thomasw [at] dsv.su.se) as resources if you have any questions and/or comments.
Legislation passed in 2010. It was originally intended for full compliance to be achieved by October 2013 (consumers would be able to start filing complaints after this date). A new waiver for game software only was granted until January 2017. The video games industry originally requested an extension until 2021, but was only granted a waiver until October 2015.
CVAA’s captioning requirements are for broadcast video only: they do not include video in the games. The FCC does not regulate captioning of home videos, DVDs or video games; DVDs have captions most of the time because TV shows, movies, etc. must contain captions in order to be broadcast (to be in compliance).
Any device that offers Advanced Communication Services (ACS) must make those communication services available to people with disabilities unless it is not “achievable” to do so. The CVAA defines ACS as:
Three categories exist in the CVAA for video games: (I) game consoles, (II) game distribution and game play networks, and (III) game software. Products released before the expiration of the waiver are exempted (PS4, Xbox One, Wii U, etc. are technically exempted). Businesses and organizations with less than 30 employees are exempted.
At the FCC’s discretion, requirements can be waived for equipment and services that are capable of accessing Advanced Comminication Services, but are designed primarily for purposes other than using ACS.
Consoles, software and online distribution services that offer broadcast video, such as television shows or movies, must provide users with a set of options so they can manipulate how subtitles are displayed. For example, YouTube, Netflix, iOS, Android, etc. currently offer full control over text size, font, and letterboxing when viewing online videos.
Nintendo Wii U and 3DS:
The game user research team at Sony Computer Entertainment Europe has started to offer accessibility evaluations as an internal service. Offers expert game review, player-behavior observation testing, diary studies, and general analytics. 2. This internal tool consists of two parts:
This is currently an optional internal service at Sony Europe, but it will eventually be shared with the wider business and game user research community. The BBC produced a similar list/procedure this year for use across its first and third party games
Big increases in developer considerations, in particular for accommodating epileptic and colorblind gamers. There was a strong social media reaction to the lack of colorblind friendliness in Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and The Witness; this is compared to only two years ago where games such as Sim City and Borderlands 2 considering colorblindness was unusual enough that it received significant press coverage.
Two AAA console games intentionally patching in accessibility for completely blind gamers
Other accessibility considerations outside of developing features
Accessibility charity foundations have seen increases in their donations which has allowed them to ramp up their outreach work.
Special Effect recently opened a Games Room in Oxfordshire along with the Prime Minister, other members of government, and industry professional. The Games Room helps people with disabilities benefit from the fun and inclusion of video games and other forms of leisure technology
AbleGamers launched AbleGamers Expansion Packs which are bundles of assistive technology to be installed in various locations that serve people with disabilities, such as group homes, special needs daycare facilities and long-term living centers. Also launched the AbleGamers fellowship, aimed at improving diversity through scholarship funding and mentorship for disabled students.
This is a follow-up what has been done since GDC 2015 where most of this action list was defined.
There are a number of people collaborating between the IGDA Education SIG and Game Accessibility SIG on a Game Accessibility education framework. Contact Thomas Westin for more information
There was a big line up for press people to use the wheel chair lift; the press area was located upstairs and the Moscone Center was working on its elevators so these areas could not be reached by people that could not use the stairs
The session Audio Driven Gameplay was essentially about blind accessibility in games but was on the Audio Track and not the Advocacy track. It was intentionally put on the Audio Track because it was expected that it would have broader appeal; however, this limited the number of people that could attend (because advocacy sessions are open to all types of passes)
All of the accessibility sessions are up on GDC vault now, most of which have been made freely available without subscription. Great selection of topics and record attendance too.
Thanks to all who attended our roundtable at GDC 2016, as well as the other accessibility related talks. Your support is crucial to continue the progress of game accessibility. Attendee affiliations included industry (e.g. Google, Playstation), universities (in the USA, Germany and Sweden), as well as independent designers, consultants and game accessibility specialists. Congratulations to all winners of t-shirts in the Game Accessibility Quiz during the roundtable.
Below is a wrap-up of the roundtable, which was run by Chad and Ian. The agenda was to discuss our action list – what has been done since last year, what is still work-in-progress and what new actions we should take. I was listening in via Skype as I sadly could not attend this year. Big kudos to Ian and Chad for their great work!
Looking back at 2015 it was a landmark year in many ways. At GDC 2016 there were five accessibility talks, which saw record attendance, averaging around 130 people per session. And also at the CSUN accessibility conference the following week there were six gaming talks, which is another record. Further, gaming hardware and gameplay networks are now included in the CVAA act, meaning game accessibility is no longer optional. Important advances during the past year include:
The GA-SIG progressed several important actions during 2015:
We still have many actions to do, and there are also new things to take care of. At GDC there are two things that we should keep trying to achieve until 2017: 1) having all accessibility sessions in one place to make it more, well, accessible, and 2) having the Press-room in an accessible room. Further, we discussed having an Accessibility summit for GDC 2017, similar to one we had in 2005, coordinated with the Game User Research summit, to allow extra sessions on top of what the advocacy track can support, and full control over venue accessibility. We have also begun talks with the Independent Games Festival about a possible accessibility category.
The winners in the quiz recieved a very nice shirt (thanks Chad!):
The quiz questions were as follows:
Q: What games company adapted a range of their coin-operated arcade machines to make more accessible to disabled people in Japanese day-centres and rehabilitation clinics?
Q: In what decade were the first skill based electronic coin-operated one-switch games first created?
A: [we think] The Rotary Merchandiser in the 1930s.
Q: Who wrote the one-switch PC game Donkey in 1981, possibly the first ever “PC” game?
A: Bill Gates and Neil Konzen for IBM.
Q: Why were keyboards invented?
A: The first working typewriter was built in 1808 as a way for blind people to be able to write letters.
Q: What type of games did Matthias Nordvall present on at GDC 2013? (or easier…. what demographic of disabled players rather than what type of games might give people a better chance?)
A: Haptic games for people who are deafblind
Q. Name one of the earliest game console controllers, by a big company, designed to enable physically disabled players.
A. The Atari Kids Controller 1983 (designed for young children who found the standard Atari joystick too unwieldy to use) or The Nintendo USA Hands-Free Controller 1988 (designed for chin and sip-puff use for players paralysed from the neck down).
Q: Name a common types of colourblindness?
A: Deuteranopia, protanopia, tritanopia (will accept deuteranomoly, protanomoly, tritanomoly, or red-green, or blue-yellow)
Q: What are the four main categories of disability?
A: Motor, hearing, vision, and cognitive, as defined by the world health organisation
Q: Name a current gen console that has accessibility features
A: XB1 and PS4 added accessibility features for the first time in 2015
Q: Name a funding body that has accessibility criteria
A: Film Victoria or Creative Europe
Q: What year was the Game Accessibility SIG founded?
Q: Which popular game engine has a built-in colour-blindness simulator?
Q: How many iOS games are listed on applevis.com as being fully blind-accessible?
A: 230 (within 50 to get it right).
Q: Who is the #1 ranked chun li player in the world?
A: Mike Begum. He can’t operate a controller with his hands due to arthrogryposis, so plays using his mouth
Q: Why do Ubisoft require subtitles in all of their games?
A: In response to complaints about the first Assassin’s Creed game not having any
Q: When gamer Brice Mellen challenged Ed Boon, creator of Mortal Kombat, to a game of Mortal Kombat and beat him, why did it get so much coverage?
A: Brice Mellen is blind
Finally, Ian had produced some really nice flyer as hand-outs during GDC:
Co-chair of the IGDA Game Accessibility SIG.
Here is a list of all sessions related to Game Accessibility we are currently aware of at GDC 2016 (thanks Ian for the compilation)
Mobile devices and disabled gamers (smartphone & tablet summit)
GASIG booth social
Beyond ageism: designing meaningful games for an older audience
Includification: how to make your game(s) more accessible to millions
Mobile devices and disabled gamers (main conference)
Explorers in VR: Walking the edge of nowhere
Human-centered design of immersive interactions
GASIG round table
In partnership with GDC, we’re pleased to announce that we will have a Game Accessibility Roundtable at GDC 2016 in San Francisco!
Please spread the word – this is the best chance for all GDC attendees to meet many experts in game accessibility in one place.
Big Thanks to IGDA management and GDC for this opportunity to meet in person and discuss SIG business, which we have had every year since 2004!
(co-chair, IGDA GA-SIG)