Communications Accessibility in Games

U.S. law firm Kelley-Drye published a comprehensive article about changes to laws in the U.S. around accessibility in video games. This is a small excerpt.

Starting in 2019, new video games must include solutions to eliminate barriers for people with disabilities. Video games have been previously exempt from Advanced Communication Service (ACS) accessibility requirements. The FCC originally concluded that the rules should be waived because video games are designed for the purpose of game play, not communication.

Now, new products will be expected to comply with the ACS accessibility rules. A common example of ACS in video games is chat functionality, which allows players to communicate with each other via text, voice, and video. While the FCC previously concluded that ACS capabilities in games were primarily for another purpose, the FCC noted “a clear trend towards marketing the ACS features and functions of gaming equipment and services.” As a result, the FCC has determined that there is a public interest for video game software to become compliant, to afford consumers with disabilities the opportunity to use ACS to communicate with others in the game environment and experience these new and immersive features on equal terms with other users.

Game developers should understand that adopting inclusive design principles can serve as a great market opportunity. Consumers with disabilities are a large part of the marketplace that many businesses may not recognize is untapped. More than one billion individuals around the world identify as having a form of disability. Designing to address the needs of consumers with disabilities will not only expand the customer base for a product but provide features and options that all consumers find beneficial.

Are you a game or software developer? You may be interested in more details about the new accessibility rules.

See the full article here: