This is definitely an interesting development. Although, I think it is
probably going to be in vain. Too much rides on the fact the case is
based on a week legal standpoint to begin with, and to top that off the
general public is totally clueless about game accessibility as well.
Based on the comments I've read about this article on the site this case
is extremely unpopular among the general readership on Gamespot.com.
Most of the comments of the readership are way off the mark, and only
proves my point they are completely ignorant of game accessibility issues.
For one thing one of the comments came out and said, "how can a blind
guy play a video game?" The comment went on to state that that is
impossible, we can't because we are blind, and ended with the conclusion
there is no way Sony could ever make their video games accessible to a
blind gamer. The authors entire premise was completely false, based on a
lack of credible evidence otherwise, and most of the comments that
follows are more of the same sort of misinformed logic. If we assume the
general public holds this sort of attitude it is no wonder we have this
kind of problem gaining access to games and other forms of multimedia
One thing that did come from this article is what people really think
about us when they don't think we are paying attention to what they say.
I found several comments very insulting, misinformed, and out and out
lacking concern for our needs or desires. The comments about "we should
get a job instead of trying to play video games" was extremely insulting
and unsympathetic. It seams the person who said that forgets plenty of
sighted gamers are able to happily work a regular nine to five job and
come home and play his/her favorite games too.
Anyway, getting back to the point, I don't see this case really going
anywhere. Sony is a very major player in the video games industry, and
I've personally spoken to them on a few ocations about accessibility for
the Play Station II and Play Station III. I got the typical "we can't
discuss our future plans answer" and of course half the time I got a
reply that "we don't take end user suggestions for new game titles." It
was as though they didn't even read my e-mails to them, and they just
sent out some canned answer they had drafted as an all purpose response.
It was very clear to me Sony doesn't care about accessibility in the
least, and try to give anyone the brush off if and when they can.
I certainly applaud this persons tenacity in taking on Sony in court,
but he has very little hope of really winning this one. First, he has to
prove that what he seeks is possible, and that may require a
programmer's point of view on what can and can't be done. Which most
programmers aren't taught any kind of accessibility in college, and most
are pretty misinformed on various ways they can improve the
accessibility of their software products. Second, he is using the ADA in
a way that really doesn't apply to video games. This alone is a major
strike against his case. Third, the general public doesn't really care
about blind accessibility issues so he is unlikely to get mainstream
support for his cause. Let us face it most people are less concerned
about accessibility when it is a non-essential issue like video games,
something they can take for granted, than if all public buildings are
accessible so Grandma Jones can get up to the third floor in her
wheelchair or with her walker. Those sorts of issues matter to lots of
people, particularly the elderly, where they could care less if a blind
person can play a video game. It is pretty harsh, but that is reality.
Unless you are blind or know someone who is blind video game
accessibility doesn't apply to most people. Even if they did care they
would fall back on the "it can't be done anyway" type of uninformed
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