About CVAA

About CVAA

US legislation affecting communications functionality in games, networks and platforms

PC gamer wearing gaming headset

The CVAA (21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act 2010) is general purpose legislation requiring accessibility of all advanced communications services (specifically voice chat, text chat, and video chat), including those in game software, gameplay & distribution networks, and consoles.

The games industry has had a series of waivers, the last of which is for game software and expires on Dec 31st 2018.

  • Games that enter development after this date must be fully compliant.
  • Games already in development after this date but released after it must be as compliant as possible, how far through development the game was at Dec 31st may be taken into account in case of a complaint.
  • Games released before this date that receive┬ásubstantial updates after it must also be compliant.

At a high level CVAA requires any communications functionality and any UI used to navigate to or operate it to be accessible to people with a wide range of conditions, from no sight to no color vision, no speech to limited strength. The criteria must be considered from early in development, and people with disabilities must be involved in some capacity in the design or testing process.

Failure to comply can result in customer complaints to the FCC, which the FCC will then mediate, taking into account what efforts have been made and how feasible the issue is to fix. The customer has the right to extend the initial mediation period if they choose. If not, substantial fines may be issued at the FCC’s discretion.

We have published a more in depth look at what CVAA means here:

Demystifying CVAA

And for more information direct from the source, watch this talk on what CVAA means for games by Karen Peltz Strauss of the FCC: