New Research by Samsung UK Sheds Light on Gaming’s Inclusivity Gap for Gamers with Disabilities

October 4, 2023
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• Gamers with disabilities still face persistent barriers, with 81% struggling with inaccessible features and 39% forced to abandon their favourite games

• Over half (52%) seek greater representation in the games they play

• However, gamers with disabilities want to play; over a fifth (22%) feel empowered while gaming, while 40% say gaming gives them a sense of escapism

London, UK – 4th October 2023Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. research reveals the video game sector could be doing more to cater for gamers with disabilities. The study, conducted by Samsung Pioneers and OnePoll, sampled 500 adults with physical and invisible disabilities, and shows 81% of respondents have struggled to play their favourite games due to inaccessible features, such as a lack of customisable control options (21%), hard-to-read text (33%), fast-paced gameplay (34%) and flashing lighting effects (31%). As a result, 39% have been forced to stop playing a game – or abandon it altogether.


It’s clear from the results there’s a desire from disabled gamers for more inclusivity in gaming. With over half (52%) of respondents expressing a wish to see characters that reflect their disabilities, the findings suggest that increased representation could substantially enhance engagement and gameplay duration.


However, despite the challenges raised, the study found over a fifth (22%) of those polled feel empowered by gaming, while 40% say the pastime gives them a sense of escapism. Added to this, 16% say it provides them with a way to connect with other gamers with disabilities emphasising the invaluable opportunity for social and community engagement in the gaming world. Meanwhile, 28% of gamers polled say video games are an ‘essential’ part of their routine.


Samsung recently launched its European-wide Gaming Training Initiative. The ‘Embrace Your Game’ Portal is designed to centralise insights, and provide expert guides, training sessions and video workshops for gamers of all abilities.


Steven Woodgate, Head of Category Management MX and Chair of the True Ability Employee Resource Group – those with disabilities at Samsung Electronics UK, said: “Gamers with disabilities not only make up a sizable portion of the player base, but they also provide valuable perspectives and experiences to the gaming community. While we’ve seen some strides in accessibility over recent years, this study reveals the pressing barriers still faced by many.”


Further barriers to gaming for those polled include games which result in ‘cognitive overload’ through complex control configurations and hard-to-follow information or instructions (28%). Nearly a quarter (24%) have experienced dexterity issues – such as controllers not being adequately designed for their ergonomic needs.


The findings found that Mario Kart (29%) and Grand Theft Auto (23%) were perceived to be the most inclusive and accommodating toward disabled gamers. Those polled say the features and accessibility options they’d like to see in future titles include: more accessory options for differently abled players (34%) and more online multiplayer options catering towards different disabilities (34%). Nearly a third of respondents (31%) want improved guides and tutorials to help them learn controls for games, and a greater range of customisable controller options (31%).


Robin Christopherson, Head of Digital Inclusion at AbilityNet, a UK-based charity that envisions a digital world accessible to all, added: “It should be no surprise to learn that disabled people enjoy gaming as much as anyone else, but this research demonstrates quite clearly the negative impact on people’s wellbeing when hardware or software isn’t accessible.


“It also underlines that games are a vital part of the fabric of many people’s lives, creating social networks and bringing enjoyment which should be open to everyone. That’s why is so good to see Samsung leading the way in inclusive design and building accessibility into their products.”


Samsung UK and Ireland stands for fairness, compassion, and respect in everything we do. A diverse talent base is the absolute bedrock of Samsung’s commitment to driving sustainable growth – bringing diversity of thought to our business and ensuring this is reflected in the design and production of our products.


“We must prioritise an inclusive gaming landscape, ensuring every player, regardless of their disability, can enjoy and connect through these digital realms. The industry owes it to all its players to make games as accessible and representative as possible,” concludes Steven Woodgate, Head of Category Management MX, and Chair of the True Ability Employee Resource Group at Samsung UK.


Samsung Gaming Credentials

Samsung’s products, content, and services are built around a ‘human-centred’ philosophy that recognises diversity and embraces difference. Examples include:


  • The Samsung Gaming Hub – an online store specialising in gaming – lets users stream games directly to their TV without needing a console or streaming stick. This allows everyone to play their favourite games – whether you’re a hardcore gamer or casual player.
  • On Samsung devices, gamers can enable assistive shortcuts, tailor touch settings and use Screen Reader and Bixby Vision such as Voice Assistant and Google TalkBack integration to optimise gaming.
  • With its 7.6-inch main screen, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 device provides expansive and uninterrupted viewing so users can enjoy their favourite games whilst peak brightness has increased by more than 30%, up to 1750nits – creating the ultimate gaming experience on the move.
  • Samsung TVs are compatible with 90% of Bluetooth controllers, meaning that players who require more assistive or personalised controllers based on their unique needs, can still play their favourite games via the Samsung Gaming Hub.
  • Samsung works with its partners to make games playable using mobile virtual controllers – embedded in The Gaming Hub, including within Amazon Luna. Users can also use a Samsung TV remote to play games from providers such as Antstream and Blacknut. This breaks down barriers to entry for players who require bespoke set ups and access to a wider gaming accessory portfolio.
  • For gamers who have visual impairments, or colour vision deficiency, Samsung has ensured that its settings give players the most control over their graphic settings including the ability to adapt the Picture Mode, the Picture Size Settings and even more Expert Settings like controlling the Sharpness and the Backlight.
  • Samsung 2023 TV and monitor get SeeColors Mode which makes it possible for people who are colour vision deficient to see a full spectrum of colours on Samsung QLED TV screens, for an enhanced gaming experience. In addition to this, Relumino Mode supports those with visual impairments by enhancing the outline of images, with enhanced contrast ratio, brightness, colour and sharpness –
  • At our flagship store, Samsung KX, which is wheelchair accessible, we offer hands-on, interactive gaming experiences – including our Gaming Bus. which also has an accessibility ramp.
  • Samsung was recognised by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) with a “Tried and Tested” Certification, awarded to Samsung’s Smart TVs based on their suitability for people who are blind or partially sighted, to improve the viewing experience for console gamers.

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