[games_access] GDC 2008: VERY Bad News

Eelke Folmer eelke.folmer at gmail.com
Sat Dec 1 15:41:46 EST 2007

Hi Reid,

On 30/11/2007, Reid Kimball <reid at rbkdesign.com> wrote:

> Please, can we stop with the negative talk about GDC and the game

> industry?

It's not negative it's realistic.

> I work in the game industry for LucasArts. Just last week I

> talked to a highly respected programmer and he's 100% behind us and

> wants to talk about what we can do to improve accessibility in our

Those "want-to"'s are nice but sadly its not reflected by any
accessible games in the market. Accessible as in people with
disabilities can play them not necessarily appealing to a larger
audience (though there are similarities). I don't agree with your
statement that Nintendo gets the message. Their games may appeal to a
larger audience but technically a game like Wii sports is less
accessible to people with disabilities, blind can't play it, deaf
dont' have captions and physically impaired even have more problems
than with a regular controller. A blood and violence game like postal
may appeal to a smaller audience but technically more people are able
to play it (including those with disabilities). It is important to
make this distinction.

With regard to making games accessible. I'm not saying individual
programmers don't care; ask any programmer/artist at any game company
and anyone will support accessible games that's not the problem.
Whether the game will be made accessible or not is not in the hands of
programmers like but is in the hand of producers and management. They
will only take decisions that pay off. Adding new features is only
beneficial if the benefits (the extra copies it may sell) weigh off
against the investments (adding the features, debugging, testing,
features may interact with other features leading to more testing,

I think it is our task to focus on that and provide quantitative data
on that so management can make informed decisions on whether or not to
make a game accessible. What happens now is that developers may want
to make their game accessible but 6 weeks before the gold master is
due they think "When in doubt leave it out" and it gets not
implemented. With my projects I am clearly measuring how much
implementation effort is associated, probably someone at that specific
game company can implement our features faster but at least we will be
able to provide a worst case estimate.

Cheers Eelke

Eelke Folmer Assistant Professor
Department of CS&E/171
University of Nevada Reno, Nevada 89557
Game interaction design www.helpyouplay.com

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