Gamer Sues Sony over Disabled Access to Virtual Worlds

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Alexander Stern of Los Angeles can’t play Sony’s role-playing video games like EverQuest because of his disabilities, so he’s suing the company under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Due to problems with his eyesight and “multiple learning disabilities,” Stern is unable to navigate the virtual worlds created by Sony developers, and after conducting a letter writing campaign and meeting with a company representative and not getting anywhere, he decided to file a class action lawsuit.

Stern is hoping the courts will force Sony to provide equal access to its video games by including in them visual or auditory cues that help those with disabilities navigate virtual worlds. Some games like Activision-Blizzard’s World of Warcraft already provide such components.
Stern hopes to build on the precedence established in another court case from 2006 when a judge in San Francisco ruled that Target had to accommodate visually-impaired Americans by adding cues or “tags” to the company’s website.
Although the lawsuit may seem frivolous to some, it is taken seriously by those who are trying to determine how a law created prior to the growth of the digital world (1990) should be applied to an era of new technologies.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Stern v. Sony (Scribd)


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