[games_access] Blizzard, WoW, and Accessibility Concerns

d. michelle hinn hinn at uiuc.edu
Tue Feb 12 01:01:08 EST 2008

Hi all,

It's been brought to my attention that there are some gamers with
mobility impairments who have been blocked from playing World of
Warcraft due to a policy that is in place that "kicks off" any gamer
who is using something that looks like a cheat when meanwhile it's
actually an accessibility mod that works with an accessible
controller or some such.

I'm happy to say that thanks to Jason Della Rocca's help (IGDA Exec
Director) I now have direct contact with the COO of Blizzard who is
extremely dismayed by the fact that some gamers with disabilities
have been blocked from playing WoW and by the reaction(s) they have
allegedly received from the company's tech support, etc. Paul Sams ,
Blizzard COO, would like me to put all gamers who have been
experiencing this issue in direct contact with him so that a mutually
agreeable solution can be found. This is one of those rare chances
that we have to talk to one of the highest higher ups at a company to
help correct accessibility problems. To quote him: "(he) will take
this seriously!"

If you or someone you know has a disability and has been banned from
play WoW due to the use of an accessible controller or key remapping,
please contact or have them contact me directly at hinn at uiuc.edu and
we will get this worked out with Blizzard. As I said, Paul was
extremely upset when he learned that there may be someone (or some
people) on his team that, according to what I have heard, did not
make this issue a priority and instead handled the issue with a lack
of grace. I have the confidence that this is an accessibility issue
that can be fixed but we need the full details from the gamers that
have been impacted so that Blizzard knows how to (1) fix the problem
and (2) address the issue(s) related to the responses given and/or
the outright ignoring of the issue in the chain of command.

So please drop me an email if you've or someone you know has been
impacted by this and we will get this issue on the way to being
fixed! And please let gamers on any forums or lists know that they
should contact me (go ahead and put in my email address) so that I
can introduce them to Paul.

Thanks everyone!

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