Inclusive Gaming: How Video Games Became Accessible

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How people with visual impairments can play World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, and other titles

In the world of entertainment, innovation is not limited to just improving gameplay and graphics. Today, we want to introduce you to the realm of inclusive gaming where video games become accessible to everyone.

What is “inclusive gaming”?

Inclusive gaming is the practice of developing video games with consideration for accessibility to all, including players with disabilities.

The core idea is to create gaming mechanics and environment that takes individual player needs and characteristics into account, ensuring their full participation in the world of video games.

How do games become more accessible to everyone?

Historically, video games were targeted towards a specific audience, but in recent decades, the industry has actively sought to include as many people as possible.

The first steps towards inclusivity were taken with the introduction of in-game difficulty level customization options. This allowed players to choose a difficulty level that suited their skills and experience, making games more accessible to a wider audience. Additionally, control settings emerged, enabling players to adapt controls to their individual needs and preferences.

Inclusion continues to evolve today, with developers and communities adding subtitles and audio navigation, helping gamers with hearing or visual impairments understand dialogues and perceive visual in-game elements. This not only expands the video game audience but also contributes to supporting players with disabilities around the world.

Let us consider examples of inclusive games, companies, and organizations that play a key role in this process.

What to play? Examples of successful inclusive games

“The Last of Us Part I (Remake)” and “The Last of Us Part II” are the games from Naughty Dog that offer a plethora of accessibility settings, including separate modes for visually impaired players and those catering to limited motor skills.

Games such as “World of Warcraft,” “Hearthstone,” “Diablo III,” “Diablo IV,” and “Overwatch” showcase how diversity and inclusivity have been the guiding principles for Blizzard in recent years. The company has incorporated speech recognition support and text-to-speech in voice chat, text chat narrators, and text contrast enhancements into its games.

There are also games that possess partial accessibility. Among popular video games, these include “Gears 5,” “Age of Empires 2, 3, and 4”, as well as “Mortal Kombat” and “Injustice” fighting games series.

Efforts to implement accessibility not only come from developers but also from ordinary players organizing into communities with the aim of adapting games for a broader audience.

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