In order to effectively communicate accessibility features in games, Mior emphasizes the importance of the communications teams for indie game developers understanding the depth of these features, aided by the presence of a dedicated accessibility officer at Whitehorn Games. This holistic approach to accessibility should not only be driven by disabled players but should also involve the development team making accessibility a priority from the beginning, with the marketing and communications teams being involved early on in the process.
Planning for accessibility considerations early allows communications teams to craft a more diverse and timely program, catering to a variety of media types such as video, graphical representations, and text. This ensures that the audience can access the information in a way that best suits them, making the communication more inclusive and effective.
In addition to the efforts by publishers and developers, quality media coverage is also valuable in promoting and communicating accessibility in games. Publications like WIRED and Eurogamer have made strides in featuring accessibility coverage from a range of voices, and IGN has even launched a regular accessibility column. However, there is still work to be done in providing sincere and critical examinations of accessibility in gaming, as some media coverage tends to focus on trends and engagement rather than the important issue of accessibility.
One of the challenges in media coverage is providing accurate and comprehensive information regarding accessibility in games, particularly in reviews. Martínez notes that the skills needed for a review on accessibility are diverse, and without experienced accessibility reviewers, mistakes can be made, leading to incomplete or inaccurate information. While specialized sites like “Can I Play That?” provide extensive accessibility information through their reviews, mainstream media reviews that mention accessibility are often written by nondisabled journalists and tend to reduce accessibility to a list of options that may not accurately reflect how games are assessed.
Recognizing these deficiencies in accessibility communication, it is crucial to focus on user-focused accessibility information, which requires the involvement of disabled individuals in the process. The early involvement of disabled individuals in both the implementation and communication of accessibility features can lead to better results. These efforts not only provide important information to disabled players but also build trust and transparency in the gaming industry, creating a healthier environment and bringing disabled players into the conversation.
Despite the focus on the technical aspects of accessibility, the importance of effective communication should not be overlooked. Failing to effectively communicate accessibility information not only deprives players of vital information but also undermines their value within the gaming community. Martínez emphasizes that highlighting accessibility not only helps players make well-informed purchases but also demonstrates that they are a valued part of the gaming community.
In conclusion, the communication of accessibility in games requires a holistic approach that involves collaboration between developers, publishers, communications teams, and the media. By prioritizing accessibility from the early stages of development and communication, involving disabled individuals in the process, and providing accurate and comprehensive information through various media types, the gaming industry can create a more inclusive and accessible environment for all players.