[games_access] Blizzard, WoW, and Accessibility Concerns

d. michelle hinn hinn at uiuc.edu
Tue Feb 12 02:55:16 EST 2008


Here's more about the most current issue on Mark's site:

http://ablegamers.com/index.php/Disabled-Gamers-News/Adventurers-Wanted-Disabled-Need-Not-Apply.html

The COO of Blizzard needs more feedback from gamers with disabilities
so anyone who has been directly affected are who we really need to
hear from, especially if they have gotten rude, negative, or no
response. To Paul, that is NOT ok that this has been happening. So a
wish list would be nice and probably would be welcomed by Paul but
the most serious issue now is those who have been kicked from the
system due to policy changes in the terms of service and so forth.

As for Rock Band -- I have given the feedback to Alex who has been
passing it along and I have more to send him that I've just gotten
feedback about but the prep for GDC is killing me at the moment. I
have also introduced him to Eelke (not sure where they are in that
conversation so I'll let Eelke fill the SIG in about this) about
Blind Hero. Alex has been in Japan for the Asia launch and then
Europe is up next. As soon as the PAL version goes gold in the UK he
will be sending RB kits to Barrie and a few other hardware solutions
people in the US (he would prefer to send everything out at the same
time just to make things easier to keep track of). There's nothing
going on "behind closed doors" -- whenever I hear that there's
something that's being changed due to our feedback I tell the list. I
sent him most of this info before the winter holidays so I have been
making sure I follow up with Alex whenever I can so that things move
forward and change happens. He's a good guy and he's on our side but
he's also the CEO so I can imagine he has a lot to do at all times!

If you ever want updates on anything, all you have to do is ask. I
can't read minds and I don't always know that people are upset at not
getting updates when there's nothing yet to update anyone on other
than my persistence and putting SIG members in touch with people as
needed. I didn't think to update the list when I email introduced
Eelke and when I learned when the UK version would being going gold
so that Barrie could receive a couple of kits for different platforms
to mod. But there you have it -- (1) Eelke has been introduced to
Alex about "blind hero"; (2) Barrie should be getting two kits soon
-- one for Xbox 360 and one for PS2; (3) Mark, Eelke, and I will be
getting one around the same time because we are or know US mod
people; (4) Alex has received one report and will soon be receiving
another with the solutions that were brainstormed on (and that I'm
still receiving info about).

Other updates related to everything else going on THIS week as we
prep for GDC that is next week:

* Over 3000 press releases are going out today sent by me personally
about the SIG's work at GDC, including the donation of equipment and
the time of two employees per company that both Emotiv and
NaturalPoint are providing for accessibility arcade.

* GarageGames has "expressed interest" in accessibility and I am
explaining to them for the 90th time that they have never responded
to the work that Eelke and Reid did despite numerous calls and emails
and if they really want to SHOW interest, then they need to meet up
with us at GDC and look at what they worked on for Garage and then
work with them to get it INCLUDED into Torque as initially discussed
last year.

* I have been trying to make sure that everyone going to GDC from the
SIG has access to as many receptions and product launches that I can
possibly get extra passes for (I've pulled in so many favors for this
GDC, it's insane). Everyone going has been working their asses off to
get ready.

* I'm hoping that we have the best GDC yet even though we won't be as
visible in sessions but instead are visible with fliers (that Mark
updated and is printing), our DVDs (that Reid and Thomas worked on
together), and more.

* Mark has been working on a new SIG site that we hope will be
launched shortly.

* I'm working on a letter with Ben to help raise more matching funds
for our grant at GDC -- that's where the bulk of my work and time
will be spent doing next week.

* I never claim that brainstorming on this list that I send to CEOs,
etc of gaming companies are MY ideas alone -- I ALWAYS put the SIG
first and foremost when I send them. Everything I do that is based on
work/comments/etc is as a representative of the SIG. Sometimes I get
busy -- like when a dissertation deadline is coming up -- so I am
first to admit that I don't always share everything I do in a day on
behalf of the SIG.

You may not have meant your email to be as harsh sounding as it was
-- "closed doors" to me is a remark that you feel that I am doing
things for the good of only myself, which is further from the truth
than you can imagine. I apologize, however, if I have mistaken your
tone. It is the middle of the night for me and I still have much to
do before the rest of the US wakes up for the day.

Michelle



>Hi,

>

>Good news! I once started collecting accessibility(-friendly)

>macro's and addon-s for Wow but I found that the functionality of

>many early addons that allowed for better accessibility (like

>auto-movement, auto-attack) were disabled in later patches. Even

>something simple as knowing when the "sneak"-sound is played (which

>one could use to make your own closed caption caption) is

>unavailable. I have a wish list somewhere I could send you... ?

>

>But before I get in on how to make WoW accessible, I have always

>been wondering whatever happened to Rock Band? Several of us gave

>(critical) feedback but I never heard from it again... ? I really

>like you bringing in real-world cases to the SIG, Michelle, but I

>don't really like it that when we give possible solutions and

>suggestions, the rest of the conversation is seemingly behind closed

>doors? Or was there no further conversation?

>

>Greets,

>

>Richard

>

>

>

>

>----- Original Message ----- From: "d. michelle hinn" <hinn at uiuc.edu>

>To: "IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List" <games_access at igda.org>

>Sent: Tuesday, February 12, 2008 7:01 AM

>Subject: [games_access] Blizzard, WoW, and Accessibility Concerns

>

>>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!

>>Michelle

>>_______________________________________________

>>games_access mailing list

>>games_access at igda.org

>>http://seven.pairlist.net/mailman/listinfo/games_access

>

>_______________________________________________

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