As a developer who is interested in making accessible games, I read all you folks had to say about what you want in audiogames. Yes, it would be great if these kinds of games would be available. The problem as I see it is that it is not only not economically feasible to do these kinds of games, it is basically impossible without a far larger market than the number of blind and visually impaired gamers that are presently around. That said, there is a possible answer.

I just got back from the Games For Health conference where I presented at the Accessibility Day track. What I was talking about is that as people age, the percent of those with one or more disability increases dramatically. Over 40% of the over 65 year olds reported one or more disability in the past US census. I don't know what the new census will show and it probably won't be available until 2014. That has the potential to increase the number of people who would be interested in audio games. Stephanie from the AbleGamers Foundation and I did a white paper that shows the potential lost revenue game developers are facing in the next five years if they don't make games accessible. You can read the paper on our website, www.7128.com.


Also, there was a workshop at the conference that Philip Benefal was supposed to participate in via telephone/skype, and the Internet connection went down just before the workshop so the leader couldn't contact Philip. The topic that was being discussed was audio game development on mobile devices that could be used by people who are exercising to make the time fly by and encourage more time exercising. These obviously would be simple games both because of the platform limitations and the fact you don't want the depth of involvement you get in a game like Entombed. BUT - and this is the BIG thing that might come from this type of game development, if you get sighted players interested in and willing to buy audio games you have just magically increased your market considerably. If you have a large enough market, you can get a company to invest the type of money it takes to do a game like you want - to have the 30 - 40 people working on it for a couple of years. To have the up-front money to hire actors, get good sound effects and do the work it takes to produce a top notch title.

This means that the potential is there to get what you want - but not right away! It will take time for aging gamers to begin to explore what is available to them when they can no longer play the games they are used to. And - the information will have to be available to them so they can find the audio alternative. It will also take time to interest a large number of sighted folk in audio games. They will have to be made, promoted and be good enough to compete with visual games.

In the meantime - if we don't support the developers that are making accessible games, they will get discouraged and close up shop.

Eleanor Robinson
7-128 Software


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