Roughly 2.6 billion people around the world partake in some form of digital gaming. Yet, gaming accessibility seems to be a secondary thought in most cases.
The bulk of gamers face no hardships during a gaming session. However, many are unable to experience the game to its full potential due to certain setbacks.
There are approximately 33 million gamers with disabilities in the U.S. alone. There is no game developer that will disagree with the idea of improving upon gaming accessibility and provide the needed tools to enjoy a game.
However, not enough is being done to make games accessible to everyone.
Developers are slow when it comes to implementing these changes. They don't consider it a priority when designing a game.
Many studios haven't yet grasped the complexities involved in creating games that offer a great deal of gaming accessibility.
The importance of gaming accessibility
As the world tries to be more inclusive, the gaming community has also begun this long but important transition. Sony took a massive initiative by making The Last of Us II accessible to blind gamers. This was a big step in the right direction.
While many developers are actively paying attention to gaming accessibility needs, everyday gamers are still unaware of the situation.
Here's a Twitter thread on the problems faced by a gamer with autism:
The lack of awareness on this issue is slowing down the progress of gaming accessibility. Due to a lack of acknowledgement, most gamers do not push for these changes.
One of the tweets from the Twitter user @AutSciPerson read as follows:
"I know there are lots of reasons certain accessibility features aren't implemented in games. A lot of it comes down to time, money, or not knowing. But sometimes we see the harsh truth - most gamers do not care about our inclusion. I learned that today. If you are making a game with audio as an integral part of it, you cannot pretend that you're not excluding people with auditory disabilities when you refuse to add necessary audio settings such as volume sliders.
The Twitter user went on to talk about how hyperacusis causes him discomfort while playing due to sudden spikes and the crackling of audio. Despite enjoying the game, there's a lack of simple in-game features that hamper the gameplay experience.
The problem is not just limited to auditory processing disorders, as gamers who are colourblind or partially blind may not be able to process the game as well.
Gaming studios should take into account gaming accessibility needs when developing future game titles. Gamers should also be more sensitive.