[games_access] A few thoughts

d. michelle hinn hinn at uiuc.edu
Fri Mar 28 20:04:14 EDT 2008

Hi Jason -- I agree with all four of your suggestions and these are
projects that we are (and have been for years) working on but
definitely need more people power to pull off. 2-4 are things we've
definitely been pushing for years and have lists on that we've handed
out, put on the web, etc (and we are getting close to #3 with regard
to ratings -- the ESA that runs the ESRB show has given us funding).

But #1 is the one that we need the most help with -- having societies
that advocate for specific disabilities adding in questions about "do
you play video games" "if not, would you like to if they were more
accessible" would be a big help. I think it's a great idea and if we
can identify a few organizations like the MS group to partner with
us, that would be terrific. It's much more palatable (and productive)
than getting them to join in with us on a lawsuit as has been
suggested before. This is what we've discussed to death on this list;
that is, the issue of a lawsuit doing exactly nothing for the cause
and instead winding up alienating the developers we work with and
ending up with court cases that don't get settled for years and years
(meanwhile the company being sued went out of business for other
reasons years ago). Instead a way to approach groups that represent
different disability groups to survey members on quality of life
issues that included leisure activities like gaming would be a much
more productive way to go.


>1) I think it makes sense to expend some energy on quantifying the

>potential market for developers. Michelle, I know you are catching up

>on your emails but have you had a chance to look at mine about the

>National Multiple Sclerosis Society survey I am trying to get going?

>I think it may be the direction to go- i.e. getting groups that

>advocate for various conditions to do some of the leg work of getting

>the data together. They have a vested interest in convincing game

>developers after all.


>2) As far as some adaptations being better for some and worse for others-

>It seems like we must be able to identify at least a few core

>technologies that are "low hanging fruit", i.e. things that are the

>easiest to implement and help the widest selection of people. For

>instance having a wider range of difficulty selections doesn't

>specifically apply to one issue but may help a huge range of people.

>Subtitle options not only help anyone with hearing issues but anyone

>who has bad sound hardware, or sleeping kids, et cetera. Now we can't

>help everyone just by picking the low hanging fruit, but we can

>establish the concept as worthwhile and help a good number.


>3) Motivating developers.

>I've been thinking about this a bit and it seems the way to really get

>things moving is to make accessibility a core consideration and the

>only way to do that is to make it something that affects their bottom

>line. Perhaps the best way to do that is to have a rating system and

>hopefully push for the ratings to show up on the game box itself along

>with the ESRB rating. If developers know that customers are going to

>see an evaluation of how accessible their game is when they pick up

>the box then they'll worry about it a bit more. I noticed another

>poster mentioned a rating system earlier (I think in connection to

>ALERT, although I'm not familiar yet with what exactly that is).


>4) Minigames.

>Another potential direction is to try and work with minigame

>developers like Reflexive. Since their games have significantly lower

>development costs they might be lightly better able experiment with

>accessibility adaptations. The minigame market could be a sort of

>cauldron where we try things out and if/when they work well we can

>point at the success for the big game developers. As for the minigame

>developers since they don't tend to have the greatest marketing if

>they get some free airplay through us that's a big win for them.






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