back to article Blind gamer sues Sony

A sight-impaired gamer is taking various branches of Sony to court for failing to make their games accessible enough to disabled gamers. Alexander Stern filed his suit in California at the end of last month. He claims that Sony Entertainment and Sony Corporation of America is failing to do enough to follow the US Disability …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    I´ll sue..

    All game makes once I go blind from my diabetes as it dosent say on any of the games that you must be sighted to play them. I´m gonna be rich.. Blind but RICH MUHAHAHHAHA hmm maybe I should sue the makers artificial limbs because i can´t use them as i got all mine.

  2. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

    So AbleGamers view is....

    For impaired guy to just sit in the corner, to shut up, and to be grateful that he gets anything at all, and then to not actually be told what he is getting to assist with said impairment as it's a "secret".

    Nice. Sound like a whitewash.

  3. Gordon Pryra

    Any chance of me making a few bucks

    By suing people who make brail books?

    Obviosuly I can't read them and I should be able to do whatever I want.

    This guy is after a quick buck, but his actions will make people who produce games/media etc just put a notice on their products saying "warning, requires full vision/hearing etc"

    Far easier for them to do that than risk some idiot judge in America trying to make a name for himself with a wierd decision in court.

  4. Fsck

    Of Course...

    Once again Sony's lack of vision and foresight has left them blind to the needs of the consumer, unable to see the wood for the trees, and left in the dark!

  5. Ian Yates


    Because only Sony don't accommodate physically impaired gamers?

  6. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    Good luck to him

    If he can demonstrate that Sony has failed to meet the requirements of the Law then he's in the right, Sony are in the wrong.

    I use a white-on-black colour scheme to aid accessibility and one soon finds out how many developers haven't even thought about accessibility and force either black text or white background in their apps rendering the text 'invisible'. Most Word docs I receive have text set to black.

    In most cases I'll accept that's ignorance of the issue, never thinking it may be a problem, and that is best addressed through education and awareness. The big players don't really have that excuse so I'm not adverse to punishing their failures as an example to the rest.

    Unfortunately there's a tendency for some people to think they know best, "I'm all right, sod you jack". If in an app you need to force particular colours for text then you're doing something fundamentally wrong.

    The most laughable failures are when people develop fonts and images for websites and end up with transparent areas which rely on the background being white when rendered - when non-white they have gaping holes and look like shit. Some well known software names have made that mistake, which shows their testing regime is less than robust, and if that's the case, would you buy anything from them ?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm crap at WoW

    Sometimes my character gets defeated. Clearly this is discrimination against the talentless - a form of discrimination which people like Simon Cowell have fought so hard against. Is his selfless work to be ignored?!

    I shall contact my lawyer forthwith.

  8. Sir Runcible Spoon

    Car manufacturers next

    But then again I see so many apparently blind people driving these days it probably isn't the barrier I imagine it to be.

  9. Richard 125

    @Gordon Pryra

    Anyone can learn to read brail. People with visual impairments can't learn to see.

  10. ForthIsNotDead


    You, sir, are a genious.

    And you owe me a new keyboard.

    You'll be hearing from my lawyers ;-)

  11. Adam 10


    This is incredible. Why is it that some people are starting to see activities such as playing the latest computer games as a basic human right?

    It is not a human right to:

    1) Fly

    2) Drive

    3) Go on the internet

    4) Drink alcohol

    5) Have the latest mobile phone

    6) Play RPGs online.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'm impressed! So many puns in one sentence!!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    what a tool

    using his disability to make a quick buck.

    wish him the worst of luck

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Whilst having sympathy with anyone who is disabled, I do think one needs to take a reasonable view on where society should draw the line. It's the manufacturer's goal to make money. Is it reasonable to insist you can't produce and sell something that benefits a large section of the community without first ensuring everyone can use it? I think that is a bit over the top.

    If one needs help then it is fine to ask for it, and have some expectation that society will respond; but I don't think you can demand everything is sorted for you to the detriment of companies trying to make a profit and thus society in general. There needs to be balance.

  15. ThaRobster

    Ooh, precedent!

    Now I can sue car manufacturers for not making a car blind people can drive!

  16. Gordon Pryra

    @Richard 125

    Rubbish, they are just being lazy.....

  17. Dale 3

    @Richard 125

    So, learning difficulties too?

  18. Poor Coco



  19. g e

    Coming soon...

    Deaf peoples' radio.

    In case they get sued.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    not blind!

    He's just visually impaired. He asked Sony to make some minor mods that would help other visually impaired people.. mods that are available as 3rd party efforts so what is the problem.

    Most people on here will become visually impaired if the old wives tail is true ... (***kers ! ) ;-)

  21. Anonymous Coward

    How can you even make a game to do this?

    I mean fair enough you can make the fonts a bit bigger on background, but anything else beyond that? And isn't this up to the developer of said game? I'm pretty sure Sony don't make an RPG game I might be wrong here.

    If he had said make the XMB for visually impaired people then fine, but again I'm pretty sure you can change the theme to anything you want.

    Who's next? Nintendo? Microsoft? arcades?

  22. Valerion


    He'll be complaining that road-signs aren't in Braille next.

  23. Piers

    Discrimination against the talentless -

    >discrimination against the talentless - a form of discrimination

    >which people like Simon Cowell have fought so hard against.

    Very good sir, very good!

    Although I think that Simon Cowell is actually rather discriminatory

    against those with a modicum of taste...

  24. Graham Bartlett

    Full equality - not always possible

    Problem is that ultimately you're playing a game which inherently *requires* adequate vision and full motor skills in at least one hand. The ability to make text bigger and suchlike is an easy fix, but you can't be giving people an advantage by, for example, putting up a big pointer saying "go this way" if their sight is sufficiently bad that they can't see the orc they need to go and kill. That advantage would also need to be given to all fully-sighted people, and then the game becomes a heap of No Fun At All because you're just running on rails.

    And Sony not responding to his letters and emails? Poor diddums - a billion-dollar corporation not responding to letters saying "you suck", and he launches a lawsuit. Did anyone see my sympathy? bcos I think I must have dropped it somewhere.

  25. Rodrigo Rollan

    Only, Always in America !

    Why is it that whenever we hear of a legal action that defies all common sense it takes place in The United States of America ?

    I, for once, hint our litigation-addicted friends to a whole set of profitable targets:

    1) All beautiful woman: why do we have to be handsome and/or have a huge stash of money to date them.

    2) The church: being that they represent God on earth , they are legal tenders for his biding. Life sucks, they should be accountable.

    3) Every manufacturer that dares sell a product that is intended for a specific audience. It's either usable by every single person on earth or we're commin' to getcha !

    Seriously, disabilities are not a laughing matter, but I think that some things are not questionable. If this legal action follows suit, then soon enough we´ll have deaf people suing musicians for not making their art available in a suitable format for them. If anyone wants to manufacture a product, they target a certain demography. My humble opinion is that they are not legally bound to please everyone.

  26. peyton?



    on topic: This guy loses my sympathy with the "loss of revenue" claims. wtf

  27. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge


    A follow-up on the reasonableness of this guy's actions which some seem to be questioning.

    He, you or I can say whatever we think is reasonable or unreasonable but Governments decide what's reasonable or not in the laws it makes, and that's what this case should be judged against. It's a simple question of did Sony meet its legal requirements as they are defined ?

    Despite some commentard's apparent opinions, the disabled, visually or otherwise, aren't all complete fuckwits who demand the impossible or irrational, but they have every right to insist that laws which apply are fulfilled, just like everyone else.

    And yes, why shouldn't the disabled sue anyone and everyone who fails to meet their legal obligations ? Such disabled people would not be demanding anything more than they are entitled to. Why blame them or take the piss for taking action, or accuse them simply of doing it to make money ? If their case has no merit then it will be thrown out and it will cost them.

    Seems to me that some commentards really do believe the disabled should be thankful for whatever they are given, put up and shut up. I bet most would also claim they weren't prejudiced or discriminatory. I bet they'd demand their legal rights if some company refused them.

  28. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge

    What next?

    Double amputees sueing Nintendo because they can't use the Wii remote? Won't somebody think of the children, etc. etc.

  29. rincewind

    Yep more ammo

    I can see it in the paper now, Games Industry in Disability Access Shocker!!

    This is all we need, to be tainted by some idiot lawsuit.

  30. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge

    @Richard 125

    "Anyone can learn to read brail."

    With the exception of anyone who has a disability which prevents them from having sensation in their fingertips. For instance, I don't suppose Stephen Hawkins has the capacity to read braille. Perhaps HE should sue the publishers of braille books, but somehow I suspect he has better things to do with his time.

  31. Gerard Krupa

    Degrees of blindness

    When it comes to blindness we sighted people, ironically, seem to see the world in black and white; blind = you see nothing. There are plenty of people in the world who are (in a legal sense) blind but still retain some of their sight. As a player of one of SOE's MMORPGs I can see areas where sensible accesibility improvements such as text-to-speech announcements could be made for people who find it possible to distinguish shapes but not detail or text, or for a limited field of vision that prevents you seeing the whole screen at once. That's not to say this guy isn't out for a quick buck; as the whole "loss of earnings" part will attest to (and Sony will trample all over that as their T&Cs prohibit using the service in that manner).

    And @Gordon Pyra I have to ask, other than the inability to actually spell Braille, is your lack of skill a disability or just down to uwillingness to learn it? Being able to see doesn't prohibit you from reading Braille. And how many books do you know of that are published ONLY in Braille?

  32. Sir Runcible Spoon


    @Jason "Despite some commentard's apparent opinions, the disabled, visually or otherwise, aren't all complete fuckwits "

    Just most of them? You owe me a keyboard :)

    @Ed : "Double amputees sueing Nintendo because they can't use the Wii remote? Won't somebody think of the children, etc. etc."

    Britain is the source of a lot of ingenuity, why don't you just strap it to their heads? Make the buttons stand out a bit more so that they can nut the B button occasionally.

  33. peyton?

    Missed opportunity!

    The "Degrees of blindness" post reminded of waaaay back when I played Myst. Early in the game, in order to get the plot to progress, there's a room with a button on the wall, and you have to press the button to trigger an event. The button was red. The wall was green. Me = slightly red/green colorblind. Spent ages trying to figure out the next step, before admitting defeat and going online, only to learn I was not the only person that could not see the button.

    Instead of raging, obviously I should have sued. I wonder if the statute of limitations has run out yet...

  34. Alex 3
    Dead Vulture

    Dot Dash Dot

    Post a comment here - but in the title area just add dots and dashes.

    See the warning display (you need text in the title field).

    Now notice you can't correct any text in the title area? (IE8 anyway).

    Lawsuit anybody?

  35. Anonymous Coward

    Accessibility is not a joke

    The disabled have a hard enough time without losers like you all making thoughtless comments about them. I have more important things to do on the web than play games, but I have to deal with (section 508) accessibility every day as a web developer for a US Gov't agency. Most of the time, a web page can easily be made accessible, with little or no additional effort, IF IT IS PLANNED FOR from the start. Retrofitting is much harder.

    Sometimes, it does take a lawsuit to get someone to do the right thing.

  36. John Sturdy

    Braille notices

    What's published only in Braille? See

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Sony Produce a number of MMORPGs Including EverQuest which is probably their biggest and getting bigger all the time.

    EQ allows for pleanty of customisation to allow Large fonts, a completely redesigned User Interface, Audio Triggers, and much more. You can even download interfaces specifically designed for the partially sighted from

    Why there is a problem for this person, I dont know, I have played with people who disabled, or are elderly, have no hearing or are partially sighted. EQ has a massive following and Im sure there are pleanty of others who are like this chap or even worse off, but they dont complain.

    Im not sure why WoW is being quoted alongside Sony, Sony have nothing to do with Warcraft (although Blizzard does seem to borrow most of their ideas from EQ, rework them slightly and put them into WoW)

  38. Anonymous Coward

    empathy FAIL

    say what you will about this particular lawsuit, but come on people, the IT industry has an appalling track record on accessibility.

    "blame the victim" may be an overwhelmingly popular rhetorical gambit among privileged, overpaid IT professionals such as myself, but that doesn't make it not suck donkey balls.

  39. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
    Thumb Down

    There is fairness and there is PC bullshit.

    Where do you think this visually impaired gamer's case lies?

    To add another comment, just because something is legislated or law, doesn't make it appropriate, fair or right. Sometimes laws are put in to protect the weak, sometimes they are forced in by the big guns, but all are subject to misintepretation and misapplication.

    This is clearly the beginnings of such a situation.

    Not even going down the slippery slope I can imagine the likes of violin makers being sued for not making violins unaccessable to people who are digitally or brachially challenged.

    Is playing the violin fun to do? yes. Is it a recreational activity? yes. Can people with disabilities play them? Yes, that would depend on nature of disability of course. Should you expect ALL people with disabilities to be able to play a violin?

    Replace all the above with a video game.

    One could argue the case for suing violin makers like so has more merit based on a value judgement that playing the violin is probably a better activity than pwning noobs on WoW.

  40. Bardlee

    Loss of revenue?

    Isn't it against the EULA to sell gold/items/accounts on WoW?

  41. David Edwards

    His point

    Is that Sony are not making the effort, the comment about WoW is that Blizzard ARE making the effort and is provided as a comparison, if WoW can be accessible why cant similar games form Sony. Thats reasonable as far as I am concerened.

    BTW You Suchi use colour coded rings as the way they price the food on the conveyer, do they offer an accessible alternative?

  42. Anonymous Coward

    re: His point

    Except that Sony are a private corporation, not a government run agency, and should be free to write games in any way they chose, catering for whatever markets they chose.

    So no, he doesn't have a point at all, especially after adding that he's losing his income because he can't sell Sony's imaginary content for real money.

    This is hardly the same thing as providing disabled access to buildings or discriminating against disabled job applicants.

    Like every other group, if the blind or visually impaired want to persuade a private company to cater to them, they need to offer an incentive to do so, usually by making them understand that by ignoring people like themselves the private company is losing potential revenue.

    If you're going to do this what's next? Sue Premier League football teams because they won't provide live commentary in the stadium at every seat? Perhaps we should put every business into bankruptcy by forcing them to cater for every eventuality and every individual, regardless of cost. We don't want businesses to be viable anymore, we just want them to be nice to everyone.

    If Sony refuse to cater towards the blind and visually impaired, people have every right to say so and generate all the negative publicity they please. But what they shouldn't be allowed to do is force every private business to cater for every individual, because we live in the real world where producing 1000 types of scissors or 1000 types of football means people that aren't morons complaining about not being able to sell virtual goods for money will lose their jobs.

  43. Anonymous Coward

    Play another game.

    Nobody's making him play the game.

    @Jason Bloomberg

    'Seems to me that some commentards really do believe the disabled should be thankful for whatever they are given'

    Exactly, just like every none disabled person should do. What a self-centered place the world is becoming. I deserve this, I deserve that, and if you don't do it for me, I'll make sure you have to. Gimme, gimme, gimme..... grown up and be a man/woman already.

  44. mmiied


    I rember later on in myst you have to use a tune to solve a problem realy got to a frined of mine who was tone deff

  45. DavidK


    May contain traces of nuts.

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