Disabled Gamers: Industry Ignoring Us

Accessibility features are often lacking
By Sarah Whitmire,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 16, 2011 4:38 PM CDT
Video Gamers With Disability Fight Industry for Recognition
In this image released by Bethesda Softworks, two factions battle for control of a floating city in a scene from "Brink." The game allows disabled players to revamp the button layout.   (AP Photo/Bethesda Softworks)

Chuck Bittner has limited use of his arms because of quadriplegia, and yet he's an accomplished gamer. Or at least he is on the relatively few titles with accessibility features that allow controls to be reconfigured for players like him, reports Wired. On Brink, for example, he can tweak the button layout and play with his face. The problem is that those features are usually the first to go when a developer's deadline is looming and the budget is shrinking.

“What game creators do not truly understand is that as we get older, we are more likely to be disabled,” says the co-founder of the nonprofit AbleGamers. “We have two wars going on, and our soldiers are not all coming back in the same condition as they left. Those men and women are gamers.” The accessibility fixes are relatively easy and inexpensive, say game designers interviewed by Jason Schreier for the article. It's more a matter of pressuring the companies behind the games and the hardware to make them a priority. Click for the full article. (Read more Xbox stories.)

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