How accessible are Uplay and Origin?
Now that many computer games cannot be played unless you have access to an online gaming platform, I thought I’d continue on from my blog about Steam, which was somewhat compatible with JAWS, and write about the accessibility of Origin and Uplay.
This software was created for a games publisher called Ubisoft. It is mostly an online shop where games can be bought and downloaded, but it is also needed to then play the games you buy. So it is worth knowing if it is accessible.
Uplay was the first gaming platform I had tried aside from Steam and I have to say I was not overly impressed. As you load it, JAWS does tell you that you are using Uplay, but apart from that, gives you no other relevant information when the software is in use.
This is the only part of Uplay that actually seems to be able to co-operate with JAWS. As you type in your email address and password, it does tell you what you are typing, but as soon as you get into the gaming store to select, purchase and download games, JAWS simply says: ‘Uplay’ and that is the only audio description you get the entire time the software is in use.
Downloading and Purchasing Games
The one good thing to say about Uplay is that at least the colour contrast is pretty good, at an acceptable standard. However, even for those like myself with a small amount of residual sight, it is nigh-on impossible to purchase games on it as the games description windows and accompanying pictures are so small. When I had eventually managed to find a game to download, the picture came up clearer, but JAWS was still not compatible, making downloading the software a waste of time for anyone with a more severe sight problem.
I think the only way in which you could access Uplay if you have a sight problem would be to use screen magnification software which would no doubt work with it. You could also use the Zoom function on your computer or any built-in accessibility features that the computer might have. That being said, if, like me, you like to alternate between voice audio narration and magnification software at given points, it is clear that Uplay is totally inaccessible to anyone who is blind or severely sight impaired.
Now, let’s see if Origin fares any better….
Similar to Uplay, Origin was created as the shopfront for a games company called Electronic Arts. This company makes around £200m every three months so I’d hope they’d put a little bit of money into helping disabled gamers.
However, near enough all of the same rules apply to Origin as to Uplay. Again as you initially download the software it seems like it will work with JAWS as JAWS tells you what you are downloading and how long it will take according to the instructions on the screen.
This is all well and good but just like Uplay, as soon as you have logged in (login facilities again work with JAWS) using the system becomes very hard work.
Downloading and Purchasing Games
This gaming platform, I am sorry to say, is even worse than its rival. In addition to it both not working with JAWS and having miniature excuses for game description windows (again!) the contrast in the screen is horrendous which means that unless you magnify the screen to insane proportions, then sadly, you are unlikely to be able to access Origin at all. Again, you could of course try using your own magnification software if you really wanted to trial it and see if it might work for you. For me though, it’s enough that it isn’t accessible with JAWS which is highly annoying.
I’m sure you would be able to guess what it is without me needing to type a single word, however, here it is anyway. Origin and Uplay are near enough inaccessible to those with limited vision. Neither work with JAWS past the login and downloading process, one has slightly better colour contrast than the other, and overall, EA does not seem able to think about access to these sorts of gaming platforms for disabled gamers. Unfortunately I think we will be waiting a while before we see any adjustments being made to accessibility for these gaming platforms. It’s a shame.
The Final Ratings
Next, I’ll be testing Battlenet to see just how accessible it is with JAWS.
If you’ve had any experience of gaming platforms, be they accessible or otherwise, let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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