[games_access] Judge Tosses Blind Gamer's Suit vs. Sony

John Bannick jbannick at 7128.com
Sat Feb 27 16:30:09 EST 2010


Folks,

There is a middle way.
ADA requires "reasonable accommodation"
Some games cannot be made accessible to a particular need.
Just as some jobs cannot be made accessible to a particular need.

The judge could have required that Sony put into place a program that at
least attempted ADA compliance.
For example, applying VPAT
(http://www.itic.org/resources/voluntary-product-accessibility-template-vpat/)
and explaining why items were not VPAT compliant.

Thus, a spelling bee game could not reasonably be made blind-accessible.
One of Jim Kitchen's audio games could not reasonably be made
deaf-accessible.
Nor could a musical game requiring chords reasonably be made one-switch
accessible.
(Forgive me Barrie, Mark, etc. if it's been done.)

Reasonable meaning without major changes, possibly changing the nature
of the game.
Reasonable could also include economic viability.

Furthermore, and significantly, If adding ADA compliance, or a specific
remediation, would add cost such as to make a game unprofitable, then by
definition it is not reasonable, in that it denies the game to those not
requiring that accommodation. Mark's point exactly, I think.

What that requirement would do is inject the accessibility issue into
the developers' business process. Not a bad thing.

Robert's anger is understandable.
And I'm leery of government intervention, especially in anything that
could be close to censorship, or is economically unviable, as were price
controls.
But VPAT's being applied to general software; ESRB is being applied to
games.

Perhaps the judge could have applied a middle way.

In any event, what this SIG is doing, and the individual efforts of
Mark, Barrie, Brian, Dark, Robert, and others is making a difference in
the developer community.
Developers, some at least, are more aware of accessibility needs.
Some are actually making specific changes (Niels Bauer games and some of
the folks Mark and Barrie work with come to mind.)
It ain't perfect; it ain't enough. But it is progress.

John


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