In his latest column for Gamasutra, noted video game lawyer Tom Buscaglia tackles the accessibility issue in games, pointing out practical, legal and tax-based advantages to making your game playable to all, including those with physical or cognitive disabilities.
In the introduction to his piece, Buscaglia points out:
"Remember those old movies with the long conga line in them? Well, imagine that the line is a line of gamers. But some of the gamers can't dance. So, no conga for them. They're just watching their friends have fun while dealing with a frustrated desire to dance themselves. That is what it is like for an estimated 20-25% of the population over the age of 17. This is because these potential gamers have one or more physical or cognitive disabilities. And the games most of us make do not provide a means for these folks to access them.
I was asked to participate in the IGDA's "Game Not Over: Expanding the Market through Accessible Games" full-day tutorial at GDC. And I guess, like most of those reading this article, it was not something I had thought much about at all. And to a great extent, that is the first problem - awareness.
Certainly, no developer would intentionally decrease their potential user base by 20%. And I doubt anyone who makes games, even the most callous among us, would intentionally exclude anyone from getting enjoyment out of the fruits of their labor. Most likely it is simply a lack of awareness or an understanding of the issues involved and how to address them. And, of course, that damned “allocation of resources” issue that impacts every proposed gameplay feature."
You can now read the full Gamasutra feature on the subject
, including more insight from Buscaglia (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).