Accessibility in VR: The hurdles we have to overcome

It’s no surprise to anyone how huge VR has gotten as an industry and a viral topic in everyday life. While Virtual Reality has been around for many years on recently have companies like Oculus and HTC brought it to the forefront of tech news. With the newest advancement in the industry it is very reasonable for anyone to be able to afford a headset and experience new worlds from the comfort of their own homes. The applications for VR don’t stop at entertainment either, VR can be used for medical procedures, physical, and mental therapy and much more. While this has been the push that VR needed for many years there is a large group of people who sometimes miss out on all of the VR experiences being crafted, those with disabilities. In Thoughts on Accessibility Issues With VR on ablegamers.org, AJ Ryan goes over some ways developers can start the conversation about what measures they should go to to make games accessible. The most alienating feeling is when you are barred from experiences because of a disability and while VR can be a very physical activity there are many ways to increase accessibility.

This Blog post is set up in a list format where each element is another things that developers should be trying to do better in order to accommodate those with disabilities. The first point is that motion controls are cool yet there should always be an option to play with a controller. Another point made is that games shouldn’t require you to stand up in order to play them. Something that is extremely easy to implement yet many developers don’t is full button remapping. This would allow people who use adaptive controllers while playing VR to comfortably experience the games we are developing. These ideas pretty much sum up the overarching theme of the list and that is “when developing games add as many ways to control the game as possible while not barring of ways of playing such as standing/sitting”. If developers spent more time thinking about those who are playing the games and not the game itself it would create a much more inclusive library of games. This article is an essential read for all developers because if developing for accessibility hasn’t crossed your mind you are missing out on a huge subset of people who most likely would love to play the games you are making yet can’t.

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