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Video Game Accessibility Waiver Expires

About a year ago it was 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, Gamasutra reports 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 itís 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.

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