Dark said: I would however be interested to know what Draconis' or 7-128's overheads are, sinse both, ---- rather than being one man bands, are full companies with a larger staff.

I'll share with you the experience we have had on our latest game. As you are probably aware, we design all our games to have the accessibility accommodations that can still keep to the gameness of the game. However, we may not be able to complete a specific accommodation in the game due to cost, or time constraints. In our latest game, Visit Salem, which is a travelogue and scavenger hunt of Salem MA, we designed it to be blind, VI, deaf and motion impaired accessible. This game has 180 locations, over 600 photographs, 6 hours of stories, interviews, historic information and voiceovers talking about interesting things. We worked on it non-stop with a fairly large team for six months. About half-way through it became apparent that we were not going to be able to complete the accessibility part because it would double the time and cost. Why it would double the time is that each of the photos have to have a description, all of the voiceovers and interviews would have to be transcribed for closed captioning, and the scavenger hunt items would need to be included in the descriptions so that the game would be playable. This would increase the time to completion by 4 - 6 months with a comparable increase in cost. We still want to do an accessible version, but need to cover our expenses and sell out the first bunch of CD's we had produced. So, despite the fact that the game was designed with accessibility in mind, it will have to wait until we recoup the money spent. And that is in the thousands as you would expect.
The kind of costs involved include things like licensing the music, having CD's 
burned and envelopes printed, purchasing sound clips, buying display cases to 
have the local merchants who sell our product display them.  Then you have to 
advertise and promote the game.  Not to mention the cost associated with the 
time spent by the developers.

Another issue in general is that despite the fact that many of our games are accessible, we don't know how many have been purchased because they are accessible. It is possible for us to estimate that the purchasers of our Perceptions GameBook are probably blind or VI. However, it is not possible to guess about any other purchases. So - if you want to have the greatest impact on developers, what I suggest is that when you buy a game, you let the developer know that you are blind or VI and that you are buying the game because it is accessible. This would alert the developer that there is a market for accessible games.
This is especially important for games that are not specifically for blind and 
VI gamers, but are from more main-stream game developers that are trying to 
make their games playable by all.  If the added work, time and money don't 
result in added sales, eventually they will get discouraged and stop adding the 
accessibility features they do add.

Eleanor Robinson
7-128 Software

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