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Ian Hamilton is a contributor to the Game Accessibility Guidelines
Below are some quite astounding snippets on why access to gaming is so important:
The games industry generates 82billion/year, a figure that is growing steadily year on year. Gobal cinema box office is 38bn, and the global music industry is 15bn.
Candy Crush alone in every quarter earns the same as a hollywood blockbuster movie. Viewing figures for esport finals now regularly beat viewing figures for traditional sport finals (e.g. http://static.ongamers.com/uploads/original/0/10/7866-superdata+esports+research+brief-page-004.jpg).
A common misconception is that people with disabilities wouldn’t want to play games, i.e. that disability prevelance is lower amongst gamers than in the wider population.
Popcap (makers of bejewelled and peggle) wanted to test this assumption, and commissioned some wide-scale research into their own casual gaming demographic. The prevelance stat they got back was 20.5%, which is actually higher than in the general population. There were many additional reasons cited for wanting to play games, including escapism, physiotherapy, inclusion, and even pain relief, the intense concentration needed actually reducing the need to take medication. http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/survey-disabled-gamers-comprise-20-of-casual-video-games-audience-57442172.html
The Last Door spent two days implementing an alternative dyslexia font option. Of the first 150,000 people to play through to completion, 13.78% chose to do so with the (less aesthetically appealing) dyslexia font enabled. 12.33% of the players who completed the game did so with closed captions turned on. See the article about last door accessibility.
MUDRammer spent two days implementing voiceover support. Now, 13% of MUDRammer players have voiceover enabled, 13 times higher than the prevalence of blindness in the general population.
Solara spent two weeks implementing voiceover support into a highly visual strategy game. The proportion of their players who use voiceover is 1%, in line with general population prevalence. Economically, that 1% hit above their weight. They are far more loyal than other players, playing for longer, and spending far more in in-app-purchases than anyone else.
If you would like to contribute to the future direction of accessible gaming by filling out this Game Accessibility Survey.