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Accessibility was more visible than ever in 2021, but not always in a way that’s helpful

If final yr was a tipping level for accessibility in video games changing into seen, then this yr has been a weathervane—indicating the course builders are committing to. Whereas it could possibly really feel like disabled critics and advocates are consistently arguing that we now have a proper to be right here, numerous studios already recognise this and are making video games for and advertising to us. Accessibility in video games has by no means been extra seen—however that visibility is, itself, one thing to query.

Quite a few excessive profile video games actively included details about accessibility of their advertising this yr, releasing information about their accessibility menus and options forward of launch. It’s, nevertheless, a lot simpler to speak concerning the presence of options than the absence of obstacles. You by no means see experiences saying ‘Newest Franchise Add Guarantees To Not Have Teeny Tiny Textual content’, or ‘Upcoming Blockbuster Will By no means Spin Digicam Spherical Nauseatingly Quick’. Releasing information about video games’ accessibility forward of time is an effective factor—telling disabled audiences that they’re welcome and giving them data they want about taking part in an upcoming recreation—however it additionally angles public dialog about accessibility in a sure method.

(Picture credit score: Microsoft)

Microsoft is without doubt one of the largest publishers to be significantly vocal about accessibility in each its video games and {hardware}. Each its tentpole releases this yr—Forza Horizon 5 and Halo Infinite—included accessibility information as a part of their pre-release advertising. And whereas each video games made extremely seen efforts to incorporate disabled gamers, the outcomes have been combined, with disabled critics praising one and panning the opposite.

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