FCC Extends Video Game Accessibility Waiver For The Last Time

Published: December 28, 2017 7:09 PM /


fcc federal communications commission splatoon 2

The FCC has extended a waiver for video games regarding the Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 as reported by Gamasutra.

The Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 specifies in part that communications devices must be accessible to people of varying physical capabilities. The law only applies to the communications aspect of video games such as in-game chat; other accessibility elements like color-blind mode and similar features are not part of the consideration of this particular law.

The Electronic Software Association had requested (and been granted) extensions of a waiver which absolves them from complying with the act as the industry tries to figure out how to best comply with the law across varying communications systems in hundreds of different titles released every year. This particular extension is the third time that such a waiver has been granted, although the FCC has stated that this will be the last time the industry gets an extension on this particular matter.

Video games face unique technical challenges on this particular matter, and developers will have until December 31, 2018, to figure out how best to comply with the law. The Federal Communications Commission has noted that some games already on the market such as Splatoon 2 and Minecraft have managed to comply with the Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 through either smartphone apps or text-to-speech chat features being built into the game. Increasing cooperation between disability advocacy groups and the industry has also been cited as a reason for the FCC allowing another extension. You can read the full text of this (likely) final waiver here on the FCC's website.

What do you think of the FCC extending the waiver for video games regarding the Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010? Do you think game developers have been doing their due diligence in ensuring that the communications portions of their titles are usable by people of varying capabilities? Let us know in the comments below!

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