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Cost concerns still hamper accessibility hardware, says advocate

In the UK, 14% of working disabled people earn less than their abled-bodied peers

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While accessibility in games is on the rise for people with disabilities, advocates say that the price point of these devices is concerning.

In conversation with Rock Paper Shotgun, AbleGamers' Steven Spohn notes that one of the main reasons the organization exists is to provide costly, accessible hardware to consumers in need.

The publication notes that accessories such as The Xbox Adaptive Controller, £75 / $100, cost 50% more than a standard Xbox gamepad. The Logitech G Adaptive Gaming Kit sets back consumers £90 / $100. Meanwhile, one of Microsoft's recommended accessories list is a $75 5x5in button controller.

Spohn also said one hardware maker had told him it was selling its device for nearly $500 even though it cost about $35 to make because that's how much Medicaid would be willing to pay for it.

Spohn says, "It's a shame; it's why AbleGamers has made a lot of strides towards either working with good partners that are trying to bring the costs down or even putting out our own products, like the Freedom Wing adapter that we did with ATmakers, where you can make one at home for under $40.

"You don't have to pay, you know, $500 for one, and we continue to keep making these adaptions as cheap as we can, because we're not in this to make money; we're just in this to get people to be able to play."

Dr. Kaitlyn Jones, of Warfighter Engaged and Xbox Gaming Accessibility program manager, said that device prices is something that the tech firm "absolutely considers" before they hit the market.

Additionally, Rock Paper Shotgun notes that in 2021, the median wages for people with disabilities were 14% lower than their able-bodied peers. This figure is for disabled people who can work.

"These prices fail to reflect the low incomes of the people they're supposed to be helping," said the publication.

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Jeffrey Rousseau avatar
Jeffrey Rousseau: Jeffrey joined in March 2021. Based in Florida, his work focused on the intersectionality of games and media. He enjoys reading, podcasts, staying informed, and learning how people are tackling issues.
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