As a disabled gamer, I get kind of worried about VR. I can’t walk around, I have a hard time moving my arms. Are people like me going to be left behind when this moves forward?
Johanna Roberts, via YouTube
Motor accessibility in gaming traditionally means ability to operate a controller. Aside from a few gesture related games, this has meant that the motor requirements of gaming have centred on your hands and arms. With VR, the range and complexity of motor ability required in order to participate has increased considerably. Sometimes insurmountably; in other circumstances play can be enabled through flexible design.
Factors to consider include:
- Range of motion – how far a head or a hand can be moved in any direction, and how far fingers can move too, particularly with controllers that place buttons on a range of sides, and controls located directly on the headset.
- Accuracy – ability to make small, smooth or precise movements
- Height – a wide range, including sitting in a wheelchair
- Locomotion – ability to walk, lean, duck or kneel
- Presence of limbs and digits – not everyone has two working hands with ten working fingers
Some of these issues can be addressed through standard accessibility considerations such as avoiding unnecessary control complexity, and offering a choice of input devices. Other VR specific options include offering alternatives to crouching or leaning, or offering the ability to configure head height.
This guideline is intentionally broad and open-ended as best practices are still to be defined, with plenty of room for innovation. However there are some good examples from studios already doing work in this area.