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    Asian game devs ‘potentially’ behind in accessibility, says charity founder

    ANN/THE KOREAN HERALD – Korean game developers should begin creating accessibility for people with disabilities as it can be easily done with some of the existing guidelines, says a longtime activist who has led the US movement for gamers with disabilities.

    “You can start making real change tomorrow with the resources out there,” said founder and executive director of the AbleGamers Charity Mark Barlet in an interview with The Korea Herald at South Korea’s game exhibition, G-Star, in Busan last week.

    Established in 2004, the AbleGamers Charity is an American non-profit organisation working to improve the accessibility of video games for people with disabilities to enjoy playing.

    “We have something called the accessible player experience or we call it APX for short. It’s a set of design patterns that help developers think in a language that they understand and help them think about how they’re going to include accessibility. Those design patterns are free on our website accessible.games,” he said.

    According to Barlet, his organisation has worked with over 300 major global game developers such as Blizzard and Xbox that sent their staff for training courses to learn how to use the APX patterns to craft experiences.

    The activist noted that Asian studios are finding themselves “potentially behind” when it comes to accessibility. “Looking at where we are, there’s a lot of catching up that probably needs to be done on this side. I don’t think there’s any malice there.”

    “I just think that the game accessibility movement has been largely in English and therefore there’s that (language) barrier, which is unfortunate,” he said.

    Barlet pointed out that the AbleGamers Charity is currently working to internationalise the patterns in several different languages, including Korean.

    “We owe it to people with disabilities since our mission is to enable play in order to improve the lives of people with disabilities. Games are made here in Korea, but I buy them in the United States. I want to make sure that a person with disabilities can play (them),” he said.

    AbleGamer’s Mark Barlet. PHOTO: THE KOREAN HERALD
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