[games_access] The Right Thing vs. The Profitable Thing / GDC T-Shirt

hinn at uiuc.edu hinn at uiuc.edu
Mon Jan 16 17:08:08 EST 2006

Well, Richard, what you say about profit is very true in the
game industry and, really, any leisure industry. At GDC last
year we were asked a ton of times:

* "but what percentage of potential gamers are we talking about?" 
* "how can we be sure that if a game is accessible to, say,
the hearing impaired that they would be gamers if they could
play our games?" 
* "what disability group do we make our games accessible to in
order to get the max profit?

And really what percentage of POTENTIAL gamers are we talking
about? Can we say with complete confidence that if all
mainstream games were accessible to the blind, that 40% of the
blind population would then play your games? No, we can't.
Because once they are accessible, then we come to game
preference...and what TYPES of games these new potential
gamers would enjoy playing (FPS? Puzzle games? RPGs?)...and
on...and on...and on...

We will deal with this at GDC again this year...and next
year...and the years after that. What we CAN say is that if
mainstream games aren't accessible, then we'll never really
know what kind of market share we're talking about, will we?
And that's a major point...but not one that really sells to
marketing groups of the big studios. Because they are looking
for "hard numbers" that they don't seem to understand are
really friggin' hard to produce.

So after all this crazy typing (see? the insanity increases),
I think we should keep going at this from BOTH angles...the
right thing AND the profitable thing. I'd love for us to dig
up some stats on how much of a market increase closed
captioning has done for, say, Disney World or Imax. Yes, we
deal with accessibility of "serious games" (games for
education and industry) but our biggest hurdle is the
mainstream entertainment industry where laws like US law 508,
etc do not apply.

Ok...uh, so the t-shirt...yeah, lady liberty. Let's GO
offensive. I agree that we may offend the industry that locks
people out. Oh well. :) I mean it's not like the game industry
itself hasn't offended millions already for violence, sex,
etc. Yeah, ok, that's not the "high road" -- but we are going
for a bit of a statement, aren't we?

That being said...yes, we need to run with the sharks too and
get our stats and come at them from a number's perspective.
Thanks for bringing that up, Richard! We'll be dealing with it
again in March!

Wow...where did that rant come from? No, it's not aimed at
anyone in particular...just general pissed off-ness about the
state of the industry.


---- Original message ----
>Date: Mon, 16 Jan 2006 22:35:09 +0100
>From: "AudioGames.net" <richard at audiogames.net>  
>Subject: [games_access] The Right Thing vs. The Profitable
Thing / GDC T-Shirt  
>To: "IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List"
<games_access at igda.org>
>This is an intersting topic for any future promotional
activities as well so 
>I changed the subject line bit (after which I will get back
to the t-shirt).
>I personally like the idea of "the right thing to do". But...
I have doubts 
>that it is the "right" angle to approach the game industry. I
formed this 
>opinion after I had several conversations about game
accessibility with 
>professional game companies. It turned out that basically
every company I 
>talked to was first and foremost interested in the economic
side of game 
>accessibility: "how big is the target audience? ", "how much
games are sold 
>to the blind now?", etc. It being "right" ("for mankind,
whetever") came 
>somewhere at the end of the conversation (and often in the
form of "good for 
>the company profile"). I prefer to approach game
accessibility from the 
>point of view best described by a famous IMB quote (on web
> "Accessibility is business, not charity"
>Like Hollywood, the game industry is an industry and revolves
about profit. 
>Only after profit come issues like "artist creativity" and
>for charity". I believe that selling the idea that
"accessibility = 
>profitable" is more suitable for the game industry than
"accessibility = 
>right". Although I consider both statements to be correct, of
>Back to the T-shirt design: I really like the Lady Justice
idea a lot and I 
>think it would make a wonderful image to go with the text. My
only 'but' is 
>this: the image (as how I picture it following your
description) seems to me 
>to be a bit 'judgemental'. This might be a cultural
difference and I might 
>be the only one thinking this, but to me the symbol of Lady
Justice refers 
>to "doing justice", "condemning criminals", etc. Somehow to
me , the image 
>of Lady Liberty holding a game controller seems to refer
"doing justice *to* 
>the 'criminal' game industry".
>I would prefer to take the most positive approach possible to
address the 
>game industry, in "their" language. Although it is a personal 
>interpretation, I feel that the image somewhere could be
interpreted as 
>'offensive' by developers the game industry'. Instead of
pointing out what's 
>right or wrong to the game industry, I think it's better to
point out what 
>possibilities and potential game accessibility has.
>Still, it is only a t-shirt we're talking about here. So, for
the t-shirt, 
>you get my vote because I like the idea (and I'm not too shy
for a bit of a 
>confrontation). But I think that for on the long run, a more
>approach is more suited.
>I am interested of what you think....
>----- Original Message ----- 
>From: "Tim Chase" <agdev at thechases.com>
>To: "IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List"
<games_access at igda.org>
>Sent: Monday, January 16, 2006 3:16 PM
>Subject: Re: [games_access] T-shirt concept "accessibility
for all" 
>>> accessibility for all gamers
>> This may be rubbish (my idea that follows, not Richard's
quote above...), 
>> but when I read this, the first thought that came to mind
was a twisting 
>> of "with liberty and justice for all", making it something
like "with 
>> gaming and accessibility for all".
>> From this, my mind wandered to the image of "lady justice"
>> but also sitting in a wheelchair.  And instead of holding
scales of 
>> justice, holding a gaming controller by the cord so it
dangled below her 
>> hand.
>> I've got a little time tonight I could try and mock up such
a doodle 
>> unless someone else wanted to it before I get there.
>> It not only combines the aforementioned ideas of
"accessibility" and 
>> "gaming", but even hints at it being "the right/patriotic
thing to do".
>> Or maybe I've been listening to too much Metallica...
(grins, ducks, and 
>> runs)
>> Any feedback or even doodlings would be more than welcome...
>> -tim
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