How You can make a difference
Over the next several weeks you personally can make computer games more
1. Buy accessible games as gifts (Not necessarily ours, but anyones')
2. Suggest to friends and family that accessible games make good gifts
3. And, most importantly, suggest to everyone who'll stand still for a
minute that they tell game companies when they've bought their game
because it was accessible.
Our own 7-128 Software recently released Visit Salem, a travelogue game.
It includes over 6 hours of audio descriptions, history, architecture,
music and interviews. It's also totally inaccessible to players who are
blind, deaf, or motion-impaired.
Why? Because it would take an additional 6 months to make it accessible.
Even with a code base that includes a lot of accessibility features and
useful guidance from John Oliveira, a colleague and head of our
Massachusetts Commission for the Blind, and from you folks and other
folks I know in the accessibility community.
I'd love to make it accessible to players who are blind, or deaf, or
motion-impaired. But the consensus among our management team is that
there are too few potential sales to justify the effort and expense, at
least at this time.
Game margins are razor slim. Electronic Arts lost tens of millions of
dollars this year, also last year. The difference between profit and
loss at our small mainstream company is tiny.
Posts by Thomas, Che, and other colleagues suggest that a few more sales
could help pay their light bills, too.
Posts by Dark, Mark Barlet, Brian Papineau, and my own experience here
suggest that some mainstream game companies do respond positively when
you tell them "I buy your stuff because you make it work for me. I buy
other people's stuff when you don't"
So, over the next few weeks you personally can either sit on your hands
and look forward to a future of not getting the games you want, or you
can make a difference. (And yes, I ping Her Interactive when I buy their
moderately accessible Nancy Drew mystery games.)
Chief Technical Officer
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