US legislation requires new games' communication aspects to be accessible to those with disabilities


The start of 2019 brings about a new change involving future video game releases. In 2010, a law called the Communications and Video Visibility Act was passed in the United States which required media to be accessible to those of varying or disabled capabilities. Since then, the Electronic Software Association, (ESA), has appealed for a waiver that allowed video games to be exempt from this law. However, as of 2019, the waiver has expired, and all video games with development cycles starting in 2019, or pre-existing games with major updates in 2019 must adhere to the CVAA, lest they be fined by the FCC.

  • Games that enter development after this date must be fully compliant.
  • Games already in development after this date but released after it must be as compliant as possible, how far through development the game was at Dec 31st may be taken into account in case of a complaint.
  • Games released before this date that receive substantial updates after it must also be compliant.

Something to note, is that the CVAA does not force all games to cater or tailor their gameplay to those with disabilities, but instead it means that communications aspects within gaming must be accessible. Game chats will need to ensure certain things, with examples such as their in-game chat UI's being readable to those with eyesight issues, or that voice communication is easy to use if it's an option as an alternative to reading chatlogs, or gaming chats having a text-to-speech toggle. This law focuses on the social aspect of gaming, rather than gameplay.

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chrisrlink

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whats so bad bout this? I support it cause i'm disabled myself and for games w/o voice chat or even invert colors like most phones has (some ppl are color blind ya know) what are you afraid of a disabled person kicking your asses in FPS's anyways this will expand the audience of games and thus more income for the said companies idk why the ESA pissed and moaned over this they're not looking at the bigger picture a small tradeoff for a little extra coding and time
 

FAST6191

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whats so bad bout this? I support it cause i'm disabled myself and for games w/o voice chat or even invert colors like most phones has (some ppl are color blind ya know) what are you afraid of a disabled person kicking your asses in FPS's anyways this will expand the audience of games and thus more income for the said companies idk why the ESA pissed and moaned over this they're not looking at the bigger picture a small tradeoff for a little extra coding and time

Nobody is upset about making things more accessible. If they can do it whilst maintaining a fair game (easier said than done in some cases) where that applies them that is entirely commendable.

The trouble comes in it being forced by law to be so, especially in this case as it represents a burden on development and some of the things they ask for not necessarily being trivial or inexpensive things to do, save perhaps for the reducing functionality and doing nothing option (which is also less than ideal).

I should also note some of the things you mention are deliberately not covered by this -- it mentions absolutely nothing about inverted/colour blind options, presumably unless they apply to the in game communications things which is what it is concerned with (though I would also have to bring up the grim spectre of mission creep).

I also neglected to consider what goes for emulated games on devices -- many of these receive quite considerably retoolings, and in some cases an online multiplayer (screen sharing options with control sending not exactly being an unknown concept).
 

J-Machine

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Nobody is upset about making things more accessible. If they can do it whilst maintaining a fair game (easier said than done in some cases) where that applies them that is entirely commendable.

The trouble comes in it being forced by law to be so, especially in this case as it represents a burden on development and some of the things they ask for not necessarily being trivial or inexpensive things to do, save perhaps for the reducing functionality and doing nothing option (which is also less than ideal).

I should also note some of the things you mention are deliberately not covered by this -- it mentions absolutely nothing about inverted/colour blind options, presumably unless they apply to the in game communications things which is what it is concerned with (though I would also have to bring up the grim spectre of mission creep).

I also neglected to consider what goes for emulated games on devices -- many of these receive quite considerably retoolings, and in some cases an online multiplayer (screen sharing options with control sending not exactly being an unknown concept).
in a country like usa if the gov steps in to make life easier for disabled people than the free market has failed them
 

FAST6191

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in a country like usa if the gov steps in to make life easier for disabled people than the free market has failed them
That could be the case, however the US has a history of sticking its beak in on things it had dubious need, and occasionally even right, to in the past. Here I am not convinced people are being well served by this legislation.
 
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TotalInsanity4

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That could be the case, however the US has a history of sticking its beak in on things it had dubious need, and occasionally even right, to in the past. Here I am not convinced people are being well served by this legislation.
So far we have no reason to believe harm will come of this legislation either, though. We'll see as time passes how things pan out
 

JavaScribe

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Yay, now poor font and color choices are legitimately illegal. My anger shall be justified next time I complain about poor choices like that.

I'm no critic, but when you use a cursive font with the strokes labelled... I can't help but question why.
 

FAST6191

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So far we have no reason to believe harm will come of this legislation either, though. We'll see as time passes how things pan out
I have seen similar well meaning legislation in other fields solve no issues and just add to stress and annoyance, and looking at some of the things asked it is all nebulous enough to be both potentially expensive and annoying to implement with the ways many games are coded. I then have to be sceptical.
 

JeepX87

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You joke, but I believe it was Contra that is considered the first handicap-accessable game due to having chest codes for variable difficulty

Also, I've only gotten through the first page and the amount of comments that could be summed up as "gotdam ess jay double-yews are taking over!" is disheartening, to say the least. This won't, and realistically has no capacity to even be, a bad thing, but clearly some of y'all hate the idea of having to consider how a disabled person might need accommodations when communicating so much that you feel the need to hit the forums in panic.

Never change, GBAtemp

Do you see my disclaimer about Just Kidding? I was joking, obviously.

However, I'm considered myself as disabled gamer that need relies on subtitle to understand, so nearly all Nintendo games have subtitles or text box since NES age.

The large text will benefit gamers with low vision, even with or without Deaf.
 

Dr.Hacknik

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Dunno, the fact that a lot of games do it means that legalizing it is more of a case of "it's universally done and generally improves things, let's make sure that this improvement becomes the standard so that companies can't at some point budget it out if it ever gets unprofitable" (because you know those asshats will gladly stop investing into improving accessibility if it ever starts to get too expensive for their tastes.)

It seems more like a formality and an assurance to give those few publishers that refuse to do this a kick under their ass to do it.
Very fair point. I didn't think of it that way.
 
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Mr. Elementle

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Gbatemp before this: Small text and terrible choice colors for fonts and UI elements are terrible and there should be an industry standard for how subtitles and on screen text should be presented so it's readable

Government: We're introducing an industry standard for fonts and UI elements so they have to be readable

Y'all: whAT the fUCk, This is literally one step away from facism how dare they also let me tell you how much i hate autistic people
 
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FAST6191

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Gbatemp before this: Small text and terrible choice colors for fonts and UI elements are terrible and there should be an industry standard for how subtitles and on screen text should be presented so it's readable

Government: We're introducing an industry standard for fonts and UI elements so they have to be readable

Y'all: whAT the fUCk, This is literally one step away from facism how dare they also let me tell you how much i hate autistic people

More like

Gbatemp before this: Small text and terrible choice colors for fonts and UI elements are terrible and there should be an industry standard for how subtitles and on screen text should be presented so it's readable

Government: We're introducing an industry standard for fonts and UI elements so they have to be readable (granted only for online communications, at least for now)

Gbatemp: Sweet.

Government: we are also forcing people to comply by law.

Y'all: What a dick move that is. Past experiences with such things have not been great.

I would place a sizeable wager that everybody that thus far expressed doubts or negativity about this would be absolutely fine with some disability concerns making a nice working group, getting them to thrash out requirements (no mean feat as there are any number of conditions with varying requirements, with the added bonus that solving many of those may break play for people, possibly including the same people you just tried to help), said can we have all the text made available to some kind of UI so we don't have to dump scripts, run OCR, fiddle with monitor settings to make something completely unnatural, maybe have an option for some of this and so forth and putting it out as a working document or ideal standard. By similar token if someone mentioned it in a review said same would probably not call a redundant or needless comment/line, even on a site with no stated focus towards such things

In my case if we are trying for the holier-than-thou bit then I have quite literally dumped scripts, found where things land in memory so memory viewers can fish things out in real time, made tables for people engaged in such activities, hacked a font or two (mainly colours rather than turning it sans serif or something), made fun controllers for people, sorted complicated emulator setups, made cheats, sat down and played things with people and was happy to do it, would be happy to do it tomorrow morning as well.

The law as described in the OP I do not think is a well thought out law. It forms an unnecessary expense and hassle for something that is pretty trivial otherwise -- adding a scrolling global chat with 80% alpha to the bottom left of the screen for a thing you are already networked on is not quite trivial, having to have a working standard for it, a text-speech or vice versa library, mandated font design, a button to presumably mute the former and just that... poke that I won't do chat at all. Suffer whatever the system has or implement your own on your own time.
 

nachuz

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For those who don't read the OP, put down the pitchforks. This relates only to communications. Not gameplay.

tldr: Game chats and voice chat need to be made easily accessible for everyone of varying traits. Gameplay is not held to this.
rip switch online app

--------------------- MERGED ---------------------------

does this affect to games like Wii Fit? is Wii Fit legally dead?
 
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Darth Meteos

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Wow, this is actually good. I read the title and was expecting some bullshit, but these are commonsense reforms.

does this affect to games like Wii Fit? is Wii Fit legally dead?
because look at all those communication features in wii fit, a game that came out after the 31st of December 2018, and therefore must be compliant

maybe read the text before you bandwagon
 
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J-Machine

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More like

Gbatemp before this: Small text and terrible choice colors for fonts and UI elements are terrible and there should be an industry standard for how subtitles and on screen text should be presented so it's readable

Government: We're introducing an industry standard for fonts and UI elements so they have to be readable (granted only for online communications, at least for now)

Gbatemp: Sweet.

Government: we are also forcing people to comply by law.

Y'all: What a dick move that is. Past experiences with such things have not been great.

I would place a sizeable wager that everybody that thus far expressed doubts or negativity about this would be absolutely fine with some disability concerns making a nice working group, getting them to thrash out requirements (no mean feat as there are any number of conditions with varying requirements, with the added bonus that solving many of those may break play for people, possibly including the same people you just tried to help), said can we have all the text made available to some kind of UI so we don't have to dump scripts, run OCR, fiddle with monitor settings to make something completely unnatural, maybe have an option for some of this and so forth and putting it out as a working document or ideal standard. By similar token if someone mentioned it in a review said same would probably not call a redundant or needless comment/line, even on a site with no stated focus towards such things

In my case if we are trying for the holier-than-thou bit then I have quite literally dumped scripts, found where things land in memory so memory viewers can fish things out in real time, made tables for people engaged in such activities, hacked a font or two (mainly colours rather than turning it sans serif or something), made fun controllers for people, sorted complicated emulator setups, made cheats, sat down and played things with people and was happy to do it, would be happy to do it tomorrow morning as well.

The law as described in the OP I do not think is a well thought out law. It forms an unnecessary expense and hassle for something that is pretty trivial otherwise -- adding a scrolling global chat with 80% alpha to the bottom left of the screen for a thing you are already networked on is not quite trivial, having to have a working standard for it, a text-speech or vice versa library, mandated font design, a button to presumably mute the former and just that... poke that I won't do chat at all. Suffer whatever the system has or implement your own on your own time.
This is about online communication. you know like when you talk to people in call of duty during a round? has nothing to do with actual gameplay just how we talk to one another. so a text to speech or gestures for commands and basic communication.
 

Tigran

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Ahh this thread seems to show the most general attitude of GBAtemp.


Most users have the mentality of "Fuck you! I've got mine!" Until of course they need something then they are "WHAAAA! Why arn't you fuckers helping me!"
 
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Tony_93

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So much anger over this. Cellphones and computers have had accessibility setting since forever. Where you can have on-screen text read by the device, or speak and have the app translate that into text. Just go into your devices settings and you'll find them. Is not like they are obligating anyone to use these features... And this is just to the communications aspect of the game on top of that! God people can so be stupid jumping to conclusions that whole games will have font size 70 and color blind colors as requirements by default...
 
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