Accessibility in video games has been, until relatively recently, one of the pending subjects of this industry.
But luckily, it seems that companies have finally been serious about making video games more accessible to as many users as possible for some time.
The importance that video games have acquired in today’s society, becoming one of the primary forms of entertainment, makes it even more important to achieve greater accessibility.
Not too many years ago, video game lovers were considered geeks and weirdos, and their number was much smaller.
However, gamers have increased tremendously in the last 15-20 years, making video games the main leisure option for many people.
This increase is due, among other causes, to the progressive incorporation of women into this form of leisure.
A few years ago, their presence was merely testimonial, but currently, they account for practically half of the total number of players.
Another cause is that many gamers who were a minority in their day have turned years and continue to have video games as one of their main sources of entertainment.
Therefore, if we add these “lifetime gamers” to the new generations, the result is that the number of gamers has not stopped growing.
This has caused many companies to see a very lucrative business in video games, investing exorbitant amounts of money in their development.
All these factors show the importance of addressing the issue of accessibility with the seriousness it deserves and investing resources to improve and expand it as far as possible.
Accessibility is being addressed mainly from two points of view, hardware (peripherals) and software (options in games).
1. Peripherals needed to play
In the PC field, we can find peripherals and controllers of different brands, which allow various configuration options to adapt to different users.
Some peripherals offer eye and head movement tracking and thus allow you to control certain video games.
Focusing on consoles, one of the most talked about in recent years has been Microsoft’s Xbox Adaptive Control.
It has been designed so that you can change the Configuration of the buttons to play, and with interchangeable parts to adapt it to different needs and abilities.
You can connect external devices, such as buttons, joysticks or switches, to create a personalized controller unique to you.
At the recent CES 2023, Sony unveiled a highly customizable controller prototype, Project Leonardo, designed to remove the barriers to gaming.
Thanks to these peripherals, people with some functional diversity can play more comfortably and for longer periods.
2. Options included in video games
The options available in the game menu make it possible to change many parameters so that users can choose how they want to experience the title.
In this sense, Sony’s games are an example by including many options to adapt them to players of all kinds.
We can cite some of its latest exclusive titles, such as God Of War Ragnarok, Horizon or The Last Of Us.
Other companies, such as Ubisoft and Microsoft, also include more options to adapt their video games.
Let’s see some of the accessibility options that are included in the video game menus to adapt them to the largest number of people:
a. Audio Options
One of the most basic options to include is subtitles, and virtually all current games include them.
But in addition to the option to activate or deactivate them, they should include options such as changing the size and type of font or identifying the character that speaks at each moment.
b. Configuration of the controls
The options allow you to reconfigure the controls and assign each button on the controller to the function that each player wants.
c. Visual Options
Modifying the contrast, changing the colours or being able to highlight important elements are options that allow the game to be adapted to people with colour blindness or low vision.
Being able to choose between different levels of Difficulty makes the gaming experience adaptable to all kinds of players so that everyone can enjoy it equally.
Apart from the options included, it is also important to increase the visibility of characters with disabilities within the video games.
Including characters with some disability, or even mental health problems (as in the case of the Hellblade video game), is necessary to normalize it and reduce the stigma that accompanies these people.
We hope that this is only the beginning and that in the future, more and more companies and developers will use their resources, time and effort to bring video games to everyone, especially those with some functional diversity.
With everyone’s effort, surely, in the end, it is possible to break down the barriers that still prevent many people from playing.
Also Read: The 10 Best Electronic Games For Children