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New Requirements for Video Game Accessibility May Start In The Fall

June 2015 - Video game equipment, software, and related services are now required by the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA) to be accessible to and usable by users with disabilities. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is permitted to provide waivers to the accessibility requirements only when the equipment is designed primarily for purposes other than communication. Unlike the some other consoles and online game play services, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) asked the FCC to extend a waiver that expires on October 8, 2015. The 15 month waiver would only cover Class III video game software. The original waiver, previously granted by the FCC, covered the following categories of video gaming service and equipment [verbatim]:

  • Class I – Game consoles, both home and handheld, and their peripherals and integrated online networks, which are designed for multiple entertainment purposes but with a primary purpose of playing games.
  • Class II – Game distribution and online game play services designed for the primary purpose of distributing online game software or enabling online game play across a network.
  • Class III – Software designed for the primary purpose of game play. Game software means playable games on any hardware or online platform, including, but not limited to, dedicated game consoles, PCs, mobile devices, and the Internet (i.e. browser based games).

The ESA requests the extension of this waiver because of the technical issues in making assistive technology for video games. By October 8th, the FCC will decide if they will grant the extension. Comments on the waiver request are due to the FCC on July 9, 2015 and reply comments are due July 20, 2015.

Additional Information


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The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Technologies is sponsored by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under grant number 90RE5007-01-00. The opinions contained in this website are those of the Wireless RERC and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or NIDILRR.