About a year ago
reported that the FCC had granted the ESA another waiver extension precluding
video games from complying with U.S. Accessibility requirements mandated by the 21st
Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act. This was the third, and said
to be final, such waiver. True to that,
that this exemption is now expired, and that all games
released in the U.S. from now on must meet these communication standards, get a specific
individual exemption, or face fines. They add that games released prior to the
deadline will also need to comply if they "still regularly receive substantial
updates." Here's more:
The International Game Developers Association has
already shared some information about how the CVAA will affect games released in
2019 and beyond, and the organization says it’s working on a more in-depth
explainer as well.
The CVAA requires that communication functionality like in-game chat and the UI
used to navigate and operate those elements must be accessible to people of
varying sight, motor, speech, cognitive, and hearing ability. The requirements
themselves are outlined in the full legislation, specifically in section 14.21.
Though for an example of features the FCC is after, at the time of the final
waiver extension the commission called out accessible communication options
added to games like Splatoon 2 and Minecraft like smartphone apps or
text-to-speech tools as steps in the right direction.