Visually Impaired Gamer Demands Clarity - The UpStream

Visually Impaired Gamer Demands Clarity

posted Sunday Nov 8, 2009 by Jon Wurm

Visually Impaired Gamer Demands Clarity

I know it sounds strange to think of a company like Sony being sued for violating The Americans with Disabilities Act that says,

No individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation by any person who owns, leases (or leases to), or operates a place of public accommodation,

but it is a reality. Visually impaired gamer Brandon Cole is taking it to the next level after he wrote THQ with suggestions on how to make their games more friendly for visually impaired users and they responded with an e-mail thanking him for his appreciation of the games graphics. Brandon has also contacted Sony many times though postal mail and e-mail with these suggestions only to receive no response. The lawsuit states that Sony ignoring this issue is discrimination and the suit specifies other games that have made efforts to compensate impaired gamers.

According to the suit,

Sony ignored repeated requests through postal mail and e-mail to come up with reasonable modifications to its games to make them more accessible. The suit, which doesn't mention SOE games by name but appears to focus on massively multiplayer online titles, requests the addition of visual cues to point gamers to their destinations for gamers with "disability impaired visual processing.

Sony has constructed the products in a way that is inaccessible to plaintiff; maintains the products in this inaccessible form; and has failed to take any action whatsoever to correct these barriers even after being repeatedly notified of the discrimination that such barriers cause.

Games like World of Warcraft that allow 3rd party apps have helped close the accessibility gap between impaired and unimpaired users and I do believe that Sony would be in the right to make a legitimate effort to correct this problem. There is the issue of cost here but if they ignore this problem it could also damage their reputation and in the end I have a feeling that it would only help improve their revenues as well since you would make your game available to a whole other market of gamers.


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