Video game consoles, services and software are covered by the 20-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA.) The CVAA requires video game equipment software and related services to be accessible and to be usable by individuals with disabilities. However, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is allowed to grant waivers of the CVAA’S accessibility requirements in cases where the equipment, services or software is designed primarily for purposes other than communication. The FCC previously granted a waiver until October 8, 2015 for the following categories of video gaming services and equipment.
- Class I– Game consoles, both home and handheld, and their peripherals and integrated online networks, which are designed for multiple entertainment purposes but with a primary purpose of playing games.
- Class II– Game distribution and online game play services designed for the primary purpose of distributing online game software or enabling online game play across a network.
- Class III– Software designed for the primary purpose of game play. Game software means playable games on any hardware or online platform, including, but not limited to, dedicated game consoles, PCs, mobile devices, and the Internet (i.e. browser based games).
The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has asked the FCC for a 15 month waiver only for class III video game software. This means that consoles and online point game play services will comply with the CVAA by October 8.
Comments on the waiver request are due at the FCC on July 9 and reply comments are due on July 20.