Gaming Games Launched After January 1, 2019 Must Be Accessible for Disabilities Under CVAA Legislation

tom_mai78101

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The IGDA (International Game Developers Association) on December 31, 2018, pushed new details regarding CVAA (21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act 2010). The high level CVAA will require any communications functionality and any UI used to be compliant and suitable for those with a wide range of conditions. Failure to comply will allow complaints to be made to the FCC and possible fines.

The CVAA covers accessibility for all advanced communications services, Here’s the explanation from the IGDA. “The CVAA (21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act 2010) is general purpose legislation requiring accessibility of all advanced communications services (specifically voice chat, text chat, and video chat), including those in game software, gameplay & distribution networks, and consoles.” The IGDA states that the games industry has had a series of waivers with the last being for game software but expired on December 31.

Starting from January 1, 2019, games launched in the US must ensure they are accessible to people with disabilities in regards to communications. Here is some more information taken from the IGDA website regarding how games are affected based on their development progress.

  • 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.
As well as ensuring that the game is accessible with communications for those with disabilities, the creation of the game must have these conditions in mind early in development and involve disabled people in the design or testing process.

 
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Slapshot136

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Not sure of too many games that do video chat, voice chat can easily be done by 3rd party apps - what exactly does text chat need to have in order to be "compliant"? i.e. are there any games which are compliant right now?
 

tom_mai78101

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Not sure of too many games that do video chat, voice chat can easily be done by 3rd party apps - what exactly does text chat need to have in order to be "compliant"? i.e. are there any games which are compliant right now?
Text chat needs to be operable without vision.
 

Slapshot136

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Text chat needs to be operable without vision.
Err.. does that mean text-to-speech has to be implemented, or just that you need to memorize the keyboard layout such that you don't need to look at the keys/screen while typing?
 

Accname

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If I had to guess I would say "typical" screen readers that are already in use by disabled people need to work with the video games. How exactly that is to be implemented I am not sure of. It might be that additional information need to be exposed through an API or maybe that the font is machine readable.

I am curious myself how exactly this is supposed to be implemented in detail. Seems like a lot of work.
 

Slapshot136

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Seems like a lot of work.

seems like a library is needed & then everyone can just use that, text chats between games aren't really all that different.. and it's text information - maybe an API, but id be curious to see an example of what "passes" vs what "fails"
 
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