Facts About Disabled Gamers

5 min read
March 15, 2021
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Facts About Disabled Gamers

According to the world bank organisation, over a billion people or 15% of the world’s population experience some form of disability. Many of these individuals find it beneficial to have a hobby or interest that can help them meet new people and be more social.

ByoWave’s co-founder Eibhlin O’Riordan tells us that many individuals with disabilities have a huge interest in gaming. It provides an immersive experience where people with similar interests can form relationships. The video game community is generally very welcoming and inclusive for everyone although like any community of its size not everyone is so friendly.

According to PopCap, around 92% of people with disabilities play video games at a regular and frequent rate. Gaming can be a huge part of peoples lives and a way to relax and have fun. The number of hours the test subjects play games per week is an average of 10.3 hours. The highest number recorded was 25 hours per week and the lowest was 1 hour per week. 1 in 5 players of casual video games has an impairment that is related to physical, mental or developmental disability.

20% of casual gamers overall are comprised of disabled gamers. Despite this many video games are not accessible for gamers with impairments. 9% of the US population suffer from a loss of gaming experience because of their impairment. Also, 2% of the US population are entirely unable to play a game because of their impairments. Recent media reports suggest that people living with a disability face barrier to entry formed by inaccessible technologies.

There are many different types of games that are played. The consoles used to play these games vary greatly which include the Nintendo, PlayStation, Xbox, ad PC. All video games – from those played on a PlayStation 4 to an Oculus Rift- are technologies that utilize the bodies sensory and motor system. We scan movements on the screen with our eyes, grip controllers with our hands, rapidly tap buttons with our fingers, and so on. But the assumption that everyone who plays video games has a body that functions in the same way can be exclusionary for gamers living with a disability.

Aside from the hardware, there can also be usability issues within games themselves. A number of games released in 2018 illustrate a lack of accessibility. For example, the recent Spyro Reignited Trilogy for current generation consoles did not feature subtitles. Subtitles are a necessity for deaf players and an option in many contemporary games.

We will be updating our blog when we have more information to share (and some new UI designs), but be sure to join our Discord where you can chat directly with the team and share your feedback!

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