Video games are one of the most important industries in the world. In the UK specifically, the industry was worth 5.3 million pounds in 2020. One of the most important aspects of gaming is the console. The consoles are so crucial to Xbox and Playstation fans. Every time there’s a new console (such as the PlayStation 5). They are at each other’s throats like hyenas going to meat.
One of the essential things regarding consoles is accessibility because of the wide variety of consumers that will play a game on the system.
The most recent console release is the PlayStation 5 which I have seen many people on Twitter praised the console for its accessibility features. Today, I will talk about those features, why they are so important, and how they help.
For those of you that don’t know, a screen reader describes text on the screen. It’s used on modern smartphones such as an iPhone and is an option found on many DVD menu’s.
The option is brilliant for the visually impaired as it enables them to be guided through the options on screen and use the UI like anybody else.
Text size is essential. It is another way to read text on the screen, and the size of text and its format can either be detrimental to how we read it or be helpful.
For example, if you read a book, the text size is pt 12 and double spaced. If it weren’t like that, we’d never want to read again.
Because of how many people use a PlayStation, the text size that is typically used will be unreadable to some. And so, to fix this, you need an option to change the text size so they can make it bigger or smaller so anyone can read the text on the screen.
Other text options
Now, these options have been a part of the Playstation system since Sony released the PS4
Invert Colours: Makes the colours opposite to each other, so white goes to black and black goes to white. It helps those who are colour blind and visually impaired.
Bold Text: Makes text bold- making it easier to read.
Button Remapping: Relocate where the buttons are- making the controller work for you.
There have been many complaints about the Dual shock controller; how it is too chunky and oversized. The triggers have too much tension. The added weight from the controller creates too much stress and strain on the hand.
This tension can lead to stress injuries and cramping, which, if you’ve got hypermobility or problems with joints and muscles, will be a nightmare!
Yet, the haptic feedback and the option to turn it off or on is accessibility gold for all that bad. You get to decide when it gets used and when it does, enhancing the gameplay on the PS5.
The Last of Us Part Two
Now, as much as I can talk about the Playstation 5 as a console. I can’t forget the game that brought it home for accessibility and made gameplay and the console align perfectly for users and accessibility needs.
And that game is Last of Us Part Two. Now you can criticise the media itself for the messages within the game that perfectly fine. That’s the whole point of media. It should be open to criticism.
However, with as much criticism I can give it for messaging. I can’t ignore how much Naughty dog pushed the boat out for improving accessibility for users.
The depth of accessibility options is that varied on the website for the game. There are three columns/types of options.
- Vision accessibility presets
- Hearing accessibility presets
- Motor accessibility presets
Users can turn all of these options on or off in the menu.
Some of the available options.
There are thirty accessibility options available within the game (not including driving the boat or using ropes.) I will pick one from each type of condition covered (that I use often) and what makes it so worthwhile. And yes, you might find these helpful too, even without a disability- but then that’s the point of accessibility. It’s to help everyone.
Traversal and Combat Audio Cues: The audio cues as you would’ve been able to guess and signals that work alongside the game’s audio to guide a player along the path to participate in the classic story or to go off on your adventure. It enables those with visual impairments to play the story however they like and not get lost! It also allows the player to automatically get through tricky areas they wouldn’t be able to do, like squeezing and shuffling between two walls and jumping over gaps.
Pick-Up Notifications: Pick up notifications are something that pops up on the screen to tell a player when they’ve picked up a weapon. It works well for those who are hard of hearing and can’t hear the typical gun sounds when you pick up a gun. Know what supplies they have.
Infinite Breath: This option has been around since the first game. It allows the player not to lose breath underwater and die. It is a useful option for players that have problems with motor skills.
Why it’s good
There are so many more accessibility features that I couldn’t write down that make the PS5 one of the best consoles for people with disabilities. It is a good thing as it enables gaming to be more accessible for everyone and lets everyone have their sense of escapism when they wouldn’t have had the opportunity to before this release.
The options available are wide and account for a lot of conditions or disabilities that usually aren’t thought of or get the bare minimum in terms of playability.
The PlayStation 5 and, by extension, The Last of Us Part Two have revolutionised what accessibility in gaming could be.
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