Games Released in the US in 2019 and Onwards Will Need to Have Accessibility Options

An act of US legislation that was signed into law in 2010 required several accessibility options to be available in games or those games’ creators would’ve possibly had to pay “substantial” fines resulting from customer complaints to the Federal Communications Commission.

The games industry had several past waivers for this law but the last of those waivers expired on December 31, 2018.

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The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA) is a “general purpose legislation requiring accessibility of all advanced communications services (specifically voice chat, text chat, and video chat), including those in game software, gameplay & distribution networks, and consoles,” according to the International Game Developers Association (IGDA).

Also according to the association, these are the guidelines for the law that apply after the December 31st deadline:

  • Games that enter development after this date must be fully compliant.
  • Games already in development after this date but released after it must be as compliant as possible, how far through development the game was at Dec 31st may be taken into account in case of a complaint.
  • Games released before this date that receive substantial updates after it must also be compliant.

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“Failure to comply can result in customer complaints to the FCC, which the FCC will then mediate, taking into account what efforts have been made and how feasible the issue is to fix,” the IGDA explained. “The customer has the right to extend the initial mediation period if they choose. If not, substantial fines may be issued at the FCC’s discretion.”

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US Law Requires Games to Have Accessibility Options