Petition Closed

Make the Steam platform more accessible to blind and visually impaired people

This petition had 831 supporters


Steam is undoubtedly a major gaming platform for many PC developers and gamers. More than 4500 games can be purchased or played for free. Currently, Steam has millions of registered users worldwide.

Despite this high user base, Valve Corporation does not ensure that gamers have equal access to their Steam service.

Blind and visually impaired gamers, for example, are unable to use any screen reader technology to reliably access even the basic features of the Steam client, without having to disable security features (such as Steamguard), or access a basic textual representation of Steam windows by disabling direct draw.
This poor access can be only achieved under one operating system (Microsoft Windows), limited to select screen readers. Under other operating systems, Steam is inaccessible.

Game developers are more and more aware of the needs of blind gamers. Lab Zero Games (http://shoryuken.com/2014/01/31/mike-mike-z-zaimont-updates-skullgirls-encore-to-enhance-accessibility-for-blind-players/), or Sekai Project (https://steamcommunity.com/app/264380/discussions/0/540739861382548810/?insideModal=1) show that blind accessibility can be done. Blind gamers, however, quite often lose interest due to inaccessibility, refusing to buy products released via the Steam platform.

Attempts to contact Valve Corporation were unsuccessful, despite the efforts of dozens of blind gamers. "I have sent a number of emails and made some support calls, but they all end up either at a call centre that hasn't a clue, or getting an automated reply," says one of them at the number one forum dealing with audio accessible games at http://forum.audiogames.net/viewtopic.php?id=12461

Valve Corporation needs to listen and make sure that their platform is accessible to screen reader users.

With this petition, we urge you to implement features, either full screen reader support in the Steam client via Tolk (https://github.com/dkager/tolk/), or via the clipboard in Big Picture Mode.

I sign this petition believing in equal access rights, asking Valve Corporation to listen and make blind access better!



Today: Robert is counting on you

Robert Osztolykan needs your help with “Valve Corporation: Make the Steam platform more accessible to blind and visually impaired people”. Join Robert and 830 supporters today.