More than half of the sixty million people living with disabilities turn to the world of gaming to meet the need for friendship, belonging and self-esteem. According to Mark Barlet, founder of AbleGamers, gaming is a way for them to free themselves from their disability. They can present themselves in a manner that has fewer stigmas.
The reality is, there is a huge market for accessible gaming for people with disabilities and with the advancement of technology, the options are growing. More than ever, developers are considering people of all abilities as they create their virtual experiences.
PC is the Most Flexible
While there may be objections amongst the disability community, developers believe that in terms of gaming platforms, the most flexible is the PC (Personal Computer). This is due to the many plug-and-play devices that can be used. While consoles offer more cutting edge games, they are often not suitable due to their closed systems.
There are, however, initiatives meant to make the inclusive games more accessible to a broader range of people, with everyone playing an equally important role; from the developers to the caregivers. This article looks at the initiatives being put in place and how they have helped more and more people with disabilities get into the world of gaming.
Game engines are the tools used in the creation of video games. More and more developers have understood why the element of inclusion should be considered from the beginning; at the game design level. This has been the case recently with specific game engines already encouraging accessibility. An example such as Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4, which enables developers to see the appearance of their game with various forms of color blindness, allows developers the opportunity of addressing disability in their game design.
Certain major brand consoles have also joined in on the push for more inclusive games. Xbox One and PlayStation 4 accessibility features allow the player to redesign the controller layout to one that would suit their needs.
There is also the Xbox Co-pilot option found on Xbox One. This feature allows a player to pair a second handset to the first one which allows the player to recruit a friend or caregiver to help with certain buttons or with multi-tasking.
With the increased popularity of Virtual Reality, it has opened another alternative to how gamers can enjoy the different products. However, there is still a way to go. Virtual Reality Headsets can be bulky and when they require head movement, that can be a challenge for some individuals. The opportunity they present for vast and diverse experiences for a user with limited mobility, though, can’t be ignored.
Companies such as Special Effect are creating inclusive games and developing all new ways to enable people to play. Furthermore, they are crafted on a case-by-case basis to meet the specific person’s needs.
AbleGamers develop solutions that game developers can implement to make their products more accessible. Remappable keys; which would allow users to reconfigure controls, color-blind options and closed captioning are a few recommended solutions. Tutorials are essential for players with cognitive disabilities since they will allow players to learn the game without fear of failure.
AbleGamers educate content creators, hardware and software developers on how to develop accessible games. On top of that, they also teach and support caregivers on the advantages gaming has to those with disabilities. Events such as Accessibility Arcades help show disabled gamers the technology that helps them enjoy gaming like everyone else.
According to statistics, there are roughly thirty-three and a half million of gamers with disabilities in the United States, two-thirds of them being male. Click To Tweet
Find More Inclusive Games
Able gaming can be fun for people of all ages and abilities! The more accessible gaming is made, the more inclusive it will be. For more information on how this is being made possible, head on to AbleGamers.
Speaking of accessible equipment, we install a variety of hand controls for wheelchair accessible vehicles at AMS Vans! You can read about some of the options we offer here.