Access for All: The Journey towards True Inclusion in Video Games

We are still a long way from comprehensive inclusion in games. However, there is a lot happening in the market to make video games more accessible to people with disabilities. For example, using special hardware if you have motor restrictions. But accessibility starts earlier, namely with the settings.

Games without subtitles? Impossible!

The most well-known setting in games for a little more accessibility is the display of subtitles. We often no longer notice them because they have somehow always been there. Strictly speaking, that's true, because before video games had music, conversation only took place in the form of writing.

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But subtitles alone do not solve all problems. People with visual impairment who still want to use subtitles need additional settings. Therefore, many video games already contain a setting which adjusting the font size enabled. As a rule, players can choose between different fixed sizes and adapt the font to their needs.

Representation of colors and sounds

Games in which success is heavily dependent on ambient noise present a great challenge. These include shooters such as Fortnite, Call of Duty or Battlefield. Here too, some game developers have come up with simple but good solutions.

In Fortnite with the appropriate setting Ambient noises represented visually – including the direction from which they come. A function that is not only used by people with hearing impairments. Other players also like to use them for support.

Color vision deficiency is also often taken into account in video games. Games that require you to react quickly to something you hear or see often offer settings for colorblind people or people with a red-green color deficiency. An example of this is PUBG, which is in Settings multiple options for color representations offers.

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The quality of such settings is certainly not always sufficient. In a thread on Reddit, those affected are discussing whether the changes to the settings in PUBG are helpful and the quality doesn't seem to convince everyone yet. However, the measures themselves are perceived predominantly positively and some suggestions for improvement are offered.

Sign language in video games

These graphic settings for the color vision defects deuteranopia (green), protanopia (red) and tritanopia (blue) can now be found in some video games. Another example is the game Forza Horizon 5. You can also find many accessibility settings here.

One setting stands out in particular: this Picture-in-picture sign language. If this function is activated, a picture-in-picture is displayed in which what is said is visually represented with hands. But this doesn't happen without restrictions either, because currently only American (ASL) and British (BSL) sign languages ​​are available to choose from.

Gaming with motor disabilities

People with motor disabilities often face the problem that games are fast and their difficulty is often based on pressing buttons quickly in a certain order. There are now Controllers that make gaming easier for people with motor disabilities should.

Sony's Access Controller is a good example of this. Sony allows players to design and assemble this controller themselves so that it can be adapted to the user's ability to move. You can find a detailed description of the Access Controller on playstation.com. The PS5 controller kit is available in stores, for example on Amazon:

But here too, it's not just the hardware that matters. Some game companies have developed their video games in such a way that gamers with motor disabilities You can make settings that make operation easier. A good example of this is The Last of Us Part 1. Among other things, the following settings can be made here:

Targets can be acquired automaticallyWeapons can be changed automaticallyItems can be picked up automaticallyRepeatedly pressing a key can be changed to holding the key pressedPuzzles can be skippedVarious combat settings are intended to make operation easier

Despite these possibilities, the road to 100% accessibility is still a long way and the question remains: whether this complete accessibility is even achievable. However, inclusion is a relevant topic in our society and should continue to be given even more commitment and attention in the future.

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