Expectations, Frustrations and Barriers of Players with Disabilities
Sept, 28th, 2020

Olivier Nourry

Plan

Who are we?

Our survey

Results highlights

Takeaways

Who are we?

Be Player One

A French startup, born in 2020.

Our mission: give access to video games to players with disabilities

  • Innovative gaming gear,
  • Accessibility consulting services (for games, and web properties).

Thumbstick for people with low force. Red and black.

Our survey

Goals

Give players with disabilities (PwD) the opportunity to express their needs,

Better understand their expectations, frustrations, and barriers,

Inform the industry.

Our survey

Key data

  • Method: online questionnaire (wanna take it? https://survey.beplayerone.com),
  • Target: persons with disabilities (gamers or not), and disability professionals,
  • From February to June 2020,
  • Mostly French-speaking respondents,
  • Results: ~330 completed forms.
QR code to reach survey's URL

Our survey

Warning: Potential biases

  • Based on voluntary participation, may be not representative of the general population,
  • Visual disabilities over-represented, hearing disabilities under-represented,
  • Middle-aged people over-represented in our sample,
  • Was released before the lockdown,
  • Was released before The Last Of Us part 2.

Results Highlights

Players with disabilities in our sample: who are they?

Socio-professional categories

Retirees: 3. Others: 23. Executives, managers: 24. Self-employed, business owner: 37. Employees, workers: 68. Pupils, students, apprentices: 73. Unemployed, volunteers: 103.

Results Highlights

Players with disabilities in our sample: who are they?

Types of disabilities

Our sample: with a language disability: 9, with a hearing disability: 16, with a cognitive or intellectual disability: 34, with a motor disability: 69, with a visual disability: 100. French population: with a language disability: unknown, with a hearing disability: 100, with a cognitive or intellectual disability: 13, with a motor disability: 43, with a visual disability: 31.

Age distribution

Our sample: 56 and more: 11, 46 to 55: 33, 36 to 45: 68, 26 to 35: 100, 19 to 25: 69, 14 to 18: 18, 13 and less: 3. Gamers population: 56 and more : 100, 46 to 55: 50, 36 to 45: 57, 26 to 35: 55, 19 to 25: 38, 14 to 18: 29, 13 and less: 28.

Results Highlights

On what platforms do PwD play?
(base 100: most cited platform)

Our sample: VR gear: 25, mobile: 67, consoles: 85, computers: 100. French population: VR gear: unknown, mobile: 100, consoles: 74, computers: 56.

Observation: people with visual disabilities play significantly more on mobile than the rest of the sample, less on consoles

On what platforms do PwD play? Quotes

My hands often hurt because of the controllers, especially those where I need to spread my fingers, or with triggers on top
Some portable consoles are too heavy and difficult to hold

Results Highlights

On what platforms do PwD play?
(base 100: most cited platform)

People with a visual disability

Our sample: VR gear: 24, mobile: 83, consoles: 65, computers: 100.

People with a motor disability

Our sample: VR gear: 24, mobile: 42, consoles: 84, computers: 100.

People with a cognitive or intellectual disability

Our sample: VR gear: 33, mobile: 39, consoles: 89, computers: 100.

People with a hearing disability

Our sample: VR gear: 30, mobile: 50, consoles: 100, computers: 50.

Results Highlights

On what types of games do PwD play?
(base 100: most cited type)

Our sample: sports : 31, family games: 40, racing: 45, fighting: 58, shooters: 62, strategy: 66, simulation: 67, action: 79, RPG & MMORPG: 96, adventure: 100. French population: sports : 59, family games: 23, racing: 39, fighting: 20, shooters: 55, strategy: 16, simulation: unknown, action: 100, RPG & MMORPG: 52, adventure: 59.

Observation: the type of disability seems to have no impact on tastes in games

On what types of games do PwD play? Quotes

Someday I’d like to be able to play FPS, open world games, etc. Play a game like Breath of the Wild or Skyrim, for example
I’d like to be able to play in full autonomy, without any external help, at fighting games for instance

Results Highlights

Why do PwD play?
(base 100: most cited motivation)

To escape from reality: 84. To build, to create, to design: 91. Just to have fun: 100.

Observation: therapy or rehab purposes among the least cited motivations

Why do PwD play? Quotes

I want to play the same games as my sighted friends
I want to do what other 12-year-old kids do, play video games. Today, apart from A Blind Legend, there’s nothing for me, and it makes me really sad

Results Highlights

What are the main barriers to gaming?
(base 100: most cited barrier)

69% said that their disabilities were a partial barrier to gaming;
22% that it was a total barrier

You haven't found service providers able to assist you: 17. A gaming equipment adapted to your needs would be too expensive: 27. There is no gaming equipment adapted to your needs: 59. You lack information regarding accessibility features in video games: 61. Video games are not accessible: 100.

Observations: 2 out of 3 said they would play more, if they had no disability issues

What are the main barriers to gaming? Quotes

If button remapping is not possible, then the game is impossible [for me]
Not being able to change the difficulty settings, in some games, prevents me from completing them, because with my cognitive and motor issues, I can’t have a good level

Results Highlights

What are the main barriers to gaming?

People with a visual disability

You haven't found service providers able to assist you: 11. A gaming equipment adapted to your needs would be too expensive: 13. There is no gaming equipment adapted to your needs: 29. You lack information regarding accessibility features in video games: 57. Video games are not accessible: 100.

People with a motor disability

You haven't found service providers able to assist you: 20. A gaming equipment adapted to your needs would be too expensive: 43. There is no gaming equipment adapted to your needs: 100. You lack information regarding accessibility features in video games: 35. Video games are not accessible: 61.

People with a cognitive or intellectual disability

You haven't found service providers able to assist you: 10. A gaming equipment adapted to your needs would be too expensive: 10. There is no gaming equipment adapted to your needs: 10. You lack information regarding accessibility features in video games: 70. Video games are not accessible: 100.

People with a hearing disability

You haven't found service providers able to assist you: 17. A gaming equipment adapted to your needs would be too expensive: 33. There is no gaming equipment adapted to your needs: 67. You lack information regarding accessibility features in video games: 100. Video games are not accessible: 100.

Results Highlights

Frustrations

What is the level of frustration resulting from barriers or hurdles to gaming?

Not frustrating: 4%. A bit frustrating: 19%. Rather frustrating: 32%. Very frustrating: 27%. Extremely frustrating: 18%.

Frustrations : quotes

I lost my sight in 2010 during the mobile apps outbreak. I crave for accessible games but feel lost in those universes that I can’t explore because of bad programming
I’d like games to be accessible to sighted and non-sighted people alike. So that there’s more diversity and everybody can play together!

Results Highlights

What is the level of frustration resulting from barriers or hurdles to gaming?

People with a visual disability

Not frustrating: 3%. A bit frustrating: 20%. Rather frustrating: 31%. Very frustrating: 24%. Extremely frustrating: 22%.

People with a motor disability

Not frustrating: 4%. A bit frustrating: 15%. Rather frustrating: 36%. Very frustrating: 25%. Extremely frustrating: 20%.

People with a cognitive or intellectual disability

Not frustrating: 10%. A bit frustrating: 40%. Rather frustrating: 25%. Very frustrating: 10%. Extremely frustrating: 15%.

People with a hearing disability

A bit frustrating: 30%. Rather frustrating: 36%. Very frustrating: 20%. Extremely frustrating: 10%.

Results Highlights

Frustrations

Have PwD ever bought a game they couldn’t play?

Never: 30%. Sometimes: 44%. Often, still buying: 8%. Often, stopped buying: 18%.

Results Highlights

Have PwD ever bought a game they couldn’t play?

People with a visual disability

Never: 31%. Sometimes: 38%. Often, still buying: 9%. Often, stopped buying: 22%.

People with a motor disability

Never: 33%. Sometimes: 41%. Often, still buying: 12%. Often, stopped buying: 14%.

People with a cognitive or intellectual disability

Never: 35%. Sometimes: 55%. Often, still buying: 5%. Often, stopped buying: 5%.

People with a hearing disability

Never: 20%. Sometimes: 80%.

Results Highlights

What is the PwD’s opinion about games accessibility?

I don't know: 4%. Excellent: 1%. Acceptable: 18%. Insufficient: 63%. Non-existent: 14%.

Observation: persons with visual disabilities have the worst opinion: 67% for “Insufficient”, 22% for “Non-existent”

What is the PwD’s opinion about games accessibility? Quotes

Games often have substandard subtitles that are difficult to read. Often much of the dialogue in games isn’t subtitled at all
Basic design rules on color perception are not respected by designers and developers

Results Highlights

What is the PwD’s opinion about games accessibility?

People with a visual disability

I don't know: 3%. Acceptable: 8%. Insufficient: 67%. Non-existent: 22%.

People with a motor disability

I don't know: 6%. Excellent: 2%. Acceptable: 27%. Insufficient: 56%. Non-existent: 8%.

People with a cognitive or intellectual disability

I don't know: 5%. Excellent: 5%. Acceptable: 20%. Insufficient: 70%.

People with a hearing disability

Acceptable: 30%. Insufficient: 70%.

Results Highlights

Expectations

Do PwD think that games publishers are aware of disabilities?

I don't know: 10%. Yes, and I see that they are trying: 18%. Yes, and they'd like to be more engaged: 10%. Yes, but they're not interested: 28%. No: 34%.

Do PwD think that games publishers are aware of disabilities? Quotes

People have what it takes for most games to be accessible, but companies must see that as a profitable option
Game development is a hard subject. So having studios forced to accommodate to everyone is a very unrealistic ideal
The problem is, to achieve 100% accessibility (that is, every single person can play) an amount of money and time would have to be spent
Perhaps [we need] more consideration from game makers

Results Highlights

Expectations

What PwD believe would improve the situation:

Have games tested by professional players with disabilities Yes: 92%
Publishers should get some help from games accessibility specialists Yes: 90%
Publish the accessibility features of each game, on the Web or on games packaging, for each type of disability Yes: 88%
A certification system for each game, for each type of disability Yes: 83%
Best practices guidelines for games accessibility Yes: 76%

What PwD believe would improve the situation: quotes

Making a chart that lists the types of disabilities that don't affect a game is a good idea
[We should] be able to provide feedback on accessibility
Give the opportunity, for specialized teams, to develop accessibility solutions for certain games, through DLCs, or alternative versions
People with disabilities could be a source of proposals for topics related to accessibility in gaming

Key Takeaways

  • Players with disabilities have the same appetite for games as other gamers,
  • 91% said that their disability is a partial or total barrier to gaming,
  • 45% said it was very or extremely frustrating,
  • Main cause of issues: lack of accessibility in games,
  • 18% have stopped buying games because of inaccessibility,
  • Perceived solutions: specialized playtesting; expert support for devs; better information about accessibility of titles.

Keep in touch!

Be Player One

Olivier Nourry

+33 6 59 51 93 20

olivier.nourry@beplayerone.com