Disabled people who enjoy video games will soon have an opportunity that will allow gaming to become more accessible to them. Many disabled people enjoy playing video games. It can be a way to connect with others.
Sony developed the Access controller for the PlayStation as part of the gaming industry’s efforts to address inaccessibility with assistance from other accessibility consultants. It is the most recent addition to the accessible-controller industry, with contributors ranging from Microsoft to startups and even 3D printer enthusiasts.
Disabled people have been collaborating with Sony on the Access controller since 2018. Rather than focusing on a specific disability the goal was to design something that could be customized to work for people with a wide range of needs.
Show me a person with multiple sclerosis and I’ll show you a person who can be hard of hearing, I can show someone who has a visual impairment or a motor impairment,” said Mark Barlet, founder and executive director of the nonprofit AbleGamers. “So thinking on the label of a disability is not the approach to take. It’s about the experience that players need to bridge that gap between a game and a controller that’s not designed for their unique presentation in the world.”
The Access controller will be available internationally on December 6 and will cost $90 in the United States.
Barlet stated that his company, which assisted both Sony and Microsoft design their accessible controllers, has been pushing for gamers with disabilities for nearly two decades. With the advent of social media, gamers have been able to amplify the message and directly address developers in forums that did not previously exist.
Accessibility sense from a business perspective as well. According to a survey by Amsterdam-based industry tracker Newzoo, the video game industry is predicted to earn about $188 billion in revenue in 2023, a 2.6% increase from last year. Assistive technology will mean more people can play video games. In turn, this will result in greater profits.
Disabled people should be able to enjoy leisure activities. Video games are just one way disabled people can connect with their friends and family. Sony has opened many doors with the development of The Access Controller.
Ortutay, Barbara. “Sony’s Access Controller for the PlayStation Aims to Make Gaming Easier for People with Disabilities.” AP News, AP News, 12 Oct. 2023, apnews.com/article/sony-playstation-access-controller-disabled-disability-21372e0f969372e2e7836c1e7d111e31.
Parvini, Sarah. “3 Takeaways on the State of the Global Games Market (Hint: It’s Growing).” Los Angeles Times, California Times, 21 Aug. 2023, http://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/business/story/2023-08-21/global-gaming-industry-report-2023-league-of-legends-activision-electronic-arts-nintendo-mobile-gaming-mario-bros.