More Access – Electronic Arts

For years, I did not like Electronic Arts as a company.

Recently though, I’m starting to appreciate them, because like several other large technology and entertainment companies, they’re building up their resources in terms of accessibility and educating people about accessibility options available. You can check out the Electronic Arts accessibility site, if you want to look at it for yourself.

My issue though is that while Electronic Arts is improving, their definition of accessibility relies on the vague “medical differences” (what if someone has yet to be diagnosed or treated?), and their website requires a person to drill down in terms of specific franchise, game, and platform before showing more information on options – such as turning off fullscreen flashes, turning on more rumble events using a console controller’s rumble/vibration function, or even just pointing out that UI colors can be changed.

For reference though, industry practices and the Game Accessibility Guidelines have specified things like the importance of adjusting volume controls separately (such as sound effects and game soundtrack separately, stereo/mono, etc). So some of the options EA lists are fairly standard across the years, and I feel it illustrates a tension between current-generation game development and games that were released in the SNES/Genesis era. If the SNES/Genesis era of gaming could easily account for volume controls and stereo/mono, or allow for some ability to remap controls, then shouldn’t there be little excuse for current-generation games, with all our technological advances, to be able to do the same relatively easily? Or to be able to convey important information not through color alone?

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