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Accessibility in Video Games

Helping everyone enjoy gaming.

Apr 09, 2019

By: Max Cannon

Accessibility is the idea of designing products that will work well for people with disabilities. In recent years, the focus on accessibility in gaming has taken off and helped ensure that players both able-bodied and disabled can have a similar experience. What are these changes? Can everyone have an equal experience while playing the same game? 

Uncharted's Focus on Accessibility 

Naughty Dog, the team behind the excellent Uncharted games, have been huge supporters of accessibility in games. Fans of the series will likely remember the sections in which you'll mash a button over and over to have Nathan Drake open a door or lift something heavy. While able-bodied gamers don't have to think much of this situation, one Uncharted fan was unable to finish the game on his own because of a disability that prevented him from being able to press the button fast enough. This story, and likely several similar tales, influenced Naughty Dog to take accessibility more seriously in future games with simple solutions. The more traditional experience hasn't gone away but if you take a look at the options in Uncharted 4 you'll find the choice to switch these settings from pressing a button quickly to simply holding it down. 

Everyone should be able to experience the excellence of Uncharted 4.Everyone should be able to experience the excellence of Uncharted 4.

These design decisions don't change anything for the majority of players but they help the disabled to have the same experience as everyone else. While many players love the thrill of beating a difficult mission or taking down a tough boss, these simple adjustments don't prevent the game from still being challenging and letting gamers overcome these challenges. You'll still need to time your jumps, sneak around enemies, and overcome tough puzzles but now you're not impaired by your body's limits. But, there are still gamers that are unable to even grab the controller, how can these players enjoy games too?

A look at some of Uncharted 4's accessibility options.A look at some of Uncharted 4's accessibility options.

Xbox's Adaptive Controller

If you aren't familiar with the Xbox Adaptive Controller then I'd suggest checking out their awesome Super Bowl commercial that we've shared below. This gives an excellent look at what's possible when a company as massive as Microsoft focuses its efforts on being inclusive. This controller is wildly customizable and helps gamers modify their setup to fit their specific needs. And the best part, it'll work on more than just the Xbox. Gamers have gotten this setup to work on PC, Nintendo Switch, and even the PlayStation 4. So while teams like Naughty Dog have been focusing on fixing their software to fit everyone's needs, this awesome controller can help players enjoy games that weren't as accessible and give everyone a more even playing field.

Microsoft Super Bowl Commercial 2019: We All Win


Not every player has to think about these accessibility options but it's fantastic that game developers are starting to take note. It's easy to forget that something as simple as holding a controller isn't exactly easy for everyone and when we let everyone in on the fun, in the words of Microsoft, we all win. 

The Xbox Adaptive Controller gives a chance to gamers that may have not been able to play otherwise.The Xbox Adaptive Controller gives a chance to gamers that may have not been able to play otherwise.Courtesy of Xbox
Share Your Thoughts

Do you have any ideas to keep gaming accessible? What are your favorite ways to help everyone play? Share your thoughts below!