Video Game Companies Build Products to Include People With Special Needs

Reaching Millions of New Players

Video game companies are working to make their products more accessible to people with disabilities. The $150 billion industry is highly competitive, and companies are finding ways to distinguish themselves by creating inclusive hardware and software.

The pandemic pushed video game sales to new heights. In June 2020, sales were 26% higher than they were in June 2019. As the boom continues, companies are looking for ways to appeal to new players. There are about 46 million potential video game players with disabilities in the US, and companies are setting out to design products for them.

Inclusive Hardware and Software

Xbox, owned by Microsoft (MSFT), launched its first adaptive controller in 2018, which has two large domed buttons users can customize to meet their needs. Other companies have since created their own versions of hardware that can be controlled with a player’s mouth instead of their fingers.

In June, Sony (SNE) came out with the PlayStation 4 game called The Last of Us: Part II with a range of features for players with disabilities. The game’s controller can be adjusted so it vibrates when enemies are near, to help people with visual impairments. It also has text-to-speech capabilities and other customizable options.

Bringing More People into the Conversation

Video game companies are using a number of strategies to connect with players with disabilities in order to understand how to build inclusive new games and new hardware. On social media platforms like Twitter (TWTR) and Discord, forums about people’s video game accessibility needs are popping up, which give companies valuable information.

Companies are also hiring more video game developers with disabilities to provide insights into how to create products for people with special needs.

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