Published on Mar 08, 2023
Tech Innovations That Make Gaming Accessible
The global gaming industry is a big tech powerhouse. It has experienced unprecedented growth for several years, with new gaming experiences. In the modern gaming landscape, consumers can choose to do everything from playing online poker for real money to watch their favorite musical artist perform in a gaming universe. However, when gaming first began to go mainstream in the late 20th century, it was a niche market with a relatively small customer base.
The proliferation of advanced innovations and connective technologies has widened gaming's reach considerably. In 2023, there are approximately 3.09 billion people playing games across the globe, a number that is expected to increase to 3.32 billion by the end of 2024. It's clear that tech development has played a huge role in sustaining and growing this behemoth of an industry, making gaming more accessible than it's ever been before.
A More Accessible Gaming Landscape
Many of the gaming experiences available today are free to play or can be accessed as part of an affordable subscription package, while it's even possible to download and play games on smartphones – reducing the need for expensive consoles. Gaming has been democratized to appeal to and reach different demographics of players. This brings new opportunities and important technical know-how for parents. The inclusiveness of the gaming industry has also reached disabled gamers, offering tools for easy access.
The Technology Innovations Improving Accessibility
When it was first released in 2018, the Xbox Adaptive Controller created a step change in the industry that widened the field for players of all abilities. Built-in collaboration with experts from the Cerebral Palsy Foundation, AbleGamers, SpecialEffect, and more, the Controller set an industry precedent that Microsoft's competitors have struggled to beat.
In 2021, the Controller received an update that coincided with accessibility tags being introduced to the Microsoft Store, which allowed gamers to see the accessibility features of a game before purchase.
In 2021, the Nintendo Switch was given a much-needed accessibility reboot with the Hori Flex Controller. Compatible with Windows 10 PCs as well as Nintendo's handheld console, the Flex Controller served as a motherboard for different joysticks and external switches that allowed disabled gamers to play their favorite titles with ease.
More recently, Sony's Project Leonardo is advancing a new era of accessible gaming. Set for release in 2023, this highly anticipated controller is specially designed to assist individuals with disabilities in playing their favorite PlayStation 5 games. One standout feature is the entirely modular controller, which can be placed directly on a flat surface, eliminating the need for uncomfortable handles and fiddly buttons.
The Role of Responsible Gaming
As mentioned above, iGaming has now become a globally popular gaming industry segment, with millions of consumers across the globe participating in real-money gaming online. The increased accessibility of casino games, poker, and sports betting enables the participation of new demographics. Nonetheless, the always-on nature of iGaming apps and platforms means it can be easy to get swept up in the action.
This is the main reason why the sector has taken major steps toward the promotion and education of responsible gaming methods. Responsible gaming refers to a set of practices aimed at promoting safe and healthy gaming behaviors. It involves measures like setting time and money limits, as well as providing resources for help and support. Ultimately, responsible gaming is about ensuring that real-money gaming remains a fun and enjoyable activity.
The Tech Tools used for Responsible Gaming
Legitimate and reputable online gambling operators typically provide responsible gaming (RG) tools within their software, which players can access by registration or at any time, after logging into the site. These tools can include:
- Deposit Limits: The maximum limit that can be deposited to a gaming site on any timely basis (daily, weekly, etc.). Once the maximum amount has been deposited, players cannot deposit any more until the period has expired.
- Time Limits: The maximum time limit a gamer can play for. Once it has been used up, the player will be logged out.
- Loss Limits: Another variation that sets a maximum amount players can lose before being logged out.
- Time Outs: A predetermined amount of time away from games that players can set for themselves, such as after losing a hand or wagering a specific amount.
Top-tier operators have gone even further and implemented sophisticated systems to monitor players' online gambling behavior. Those can assess whether they are gambling responsibly or if an intervention is needed to limit their spending. One operator, for instance, carries out financial checks when gamers apply for accounts to ensure they have the budget for real-money gaming.
A triple-step approach, meanwhile, provides three layers of protection: Identifying possible red flags at registration; Real-time monitoring of gamer habits; Tailoring spending backstops for gamers who require a little more support.