2019-06-12 13:54:57

Hi all,

As part of some academic gymnastics I've recently been required to perform, I have some estimated numbers about how many people play video games, how many of them have some form of disability, and specifically how many of them have visual impairment.

I thought this might be of interest, so here are the details I found when researching the topic:

The number of people who play video games globally has been rising steadily since their inception and availability to home consumers via early microcomputers in the 1970s, and as of 2018 there are an estimated 2.6 billion people in the world who play video games (Entertainment Software Association, 2018).

Of this vast number of people, it can be expected that roughly the same proportion of users will have some form of disability as in the general populace, which stands at approximately 15% of the world's population (World Health Organization, 2011). More specifically, estimates for the prevalence of visual impairment in the global populace suggest that approximately 0.48% of the populace are legally blind, 2.95% have moderate to severe visual impairment, and 2.57% have mild visual impairment (Bourne, 2017).

Applying these rates of visual disability to our game-playing user base of 2.6 billion people would then suggest that that there are presently in the region of 156 million gamers with visual disability, comprised of 12.48 million gamers who are legally blind, 76.7 million with moderate to severe visual impairment, and 66.82 million who have mild visual impairment."

The above is a quote from my (yet to be published) PhD exegesis: "Adventures in Software Engineering: Plugging HCI Gaps with Open Source Solutions".

References from the above are:

Entertainment Software Association. (2018).
Retrieved from http://www.theesa.com/wp-content/upload … _FINAL.pdf

World Health Organization. (2011). World Report on Disability 2011.

Bourne, R. R. (2017). Magnitude, temporal trends, and projections of the global prevalence of blindness and distance and near vision impairment: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Lancet Global Health, 5(9), e888-e897.

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2019-06-12 14:10:06

doubt if there are that much VI gamers who play videogames.

it's challenge not chalange

2019-06-12 14:36:17

Humm, have you considered poor countries where you are blind but don't have the minimum requirements for a normal life? I'm talking about the pourest countries of Africa, I know that there are lots of blind people there but they should not count as gamers. And also blindness affects lots of old people, they shouldn't count too. I don't know about their percentages though.

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2019-06-12 14:49:33

It does seem high. I'm concerned about whether I've taken the percentages from the game-playing-users-with-disability or just the users-with-disability now.

Let's run the numbers - because because if I'm wrong I need to fix it quick.

2.6 billion people play video games: 2,600,000,000.

I accept the above number of people who play video games.

World population with disabilities is 15%, as a percentage of that 2.6 billion it's: 390 million (390,000,000).

I accept the above percentage and 390 million number of people who are in some way impaired but that also play video games.

Looking at this quote:

More specifically, estimates for the prevalence of visual impairment in the global populace suggest that approximately 0.48% of the populace are legally blind, 2.95% have moderate to severe visual impairment, and 2.57% have mild visual impairment

This is not about the gaming populace - it's about the general populace, so this can be applied to the everyone or our gaming subset the same.

Total people who play games: 2.6 billion

2 point 6 billion multiplied by blind ratio of 0.48% aka 0.0048 is: 12,480,000 (12 point 4 8 million)
2 point 6 billion multiplied by medium impairment ratio of 2.95% aka 0.0295 is: 76,700,000 (76 point 7 million)
2 point 6 billion multiplied by mild impairment ratio of 2.57% aka 0.0295 is: 66,820,000 (66 point 8 2 million)

The numbers look high, but they look correct to me.

Thoughts welcome!

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2019-06-12 14:51:04

Siria, I believe the World Health Organisation's figures 'even things out' as much as possible. There is no way to get specific numbers, we can only estimate, and these are the best estimates that I am aware of.

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2019-06-12 14:58:57

well you calculated them correctly, but, correct doesn't mean it's true.

it's challenge not chalange

2019-06-12 15:16:13

Globally, if we accept that 0.48% (0.0048) of the populace are legally blind, 2.95% (0.0295) have moderate to severe visual impairment, and 2.57% (0.0257) have mild visual impairment, then scaling it up to 'whole people' by multiplying by 100,000 gives us:

Four hundred and eighty people out of every hundred thousand people are blind (480 / 100,000),

Two thousand nine hundred and fifty people out of every hundred thousand people have medium visual impairment. (2950 / 100,000),

and

Two thousand five hundred and seventy people out of every hundred thousand people have mild visual impairment (2570 / 100,000).

Does that still seem too high?

Mild visual impairment can mean things like needing to wear glasses to drive a car (such as the case with me - otherwise I can't read the signs until I'm too close to change lanes!).

It still feels a touch high, but I can only work from the numbers I have, so I think it's as close as I can get.

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2019-06-12 15:17:29 (edited by r3dux 2019-06-12 15:18:25)

@AlirezaNosrati - Absolutely, I fully agree with that statement ("Correct doesn't mean true").

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2019-06-12 15:18:51

Since %90 of blind people are over 65 see http://www.euroblind.org/about-blindnes … nd-figures
and I doubt many people over 65 in the general population play video games, what you probably need to do to get a more accurate figure, is firstly consider the age of the video game playing population, then consider what percentage of people of that age have visual impairments.

As https://www.answers.com/Q/What_percentage_of_American's_are_blind_and_or_deaf suggest, %0.3 of the population are legally blind, and only %10 of those are under 65 and of the correct, age, then the probable video game playing population is %0.03, and that of course is assuming that everyone who is both blind and under 65 plays video games, which is likely not the case.

therefor if your figure of 2600000000 video game player across the world, then the maximum amount of blind gamers is 77779, and that of course assuming that  everyone of the correct age plays video games which is a fairly big assumption.

Of course, this is also assuming that your initial figure of 2.6 billion is indeed across an even age spread of the population, which I doubt, though in that  case the figure is probably lower, since there is probably a lower over all percentage of blind people in the total population of the correct age than you'd get by taking the total number of blind people in the entire population and extracting the %10 who are of the correct age then applying that to the total figure.

So bottom line, not as many as you think unfortunately, though of course what might happen in ten years or so when the Atari generation start hitting 65 could be interesting.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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2019-06-12 15:32:43 (edited by r3dux 2019-06-12 15:46:21)

@Dark - that is such a good point - that 90% of people who are blind are over the age of 65.

That would stretch back to 1954 or there-abouts, when there weren't even home video game consoles.

So does that mean I should take only 10% of the World Health Organisation numbers?

Would it / does it apply linearly? So 480 becomes 48 (blind), 2950 becomes (295) medium, and 2570 becomes 257 with mild visual impairment per one hundred thousand people?

And as you mention, as the Atari generation ages, how do the figures change?

Definitely food for thought.

Update: Not much use for percentages of Americans with disabilities as this is global.

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2019-06-12 15:38:27 (edited by r3dux 2019-06-12 15:39:18)

As the exegesis isn't published yet, I've just contacted my supervisors and pointed them here to make a call on whether to include the 90% > 65 ref and cut the numbers by 90%.

Since 1954 is a non-home-console era, I think it's probably the right thing to do.

Thanks so much, Dark.

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2019-06-12 15:44:28

Among blind people age is a pretty critical factor, but there are others as well. For example, even if your dealing with blind people of the correct age, in countries where blind people dont' have access to services or technology, even if sighted people do, the proportion of blind gamers is probably smaller than in countries where blind people have relatively good access to technology.

In general, even if the 2.6 billion is accurate, we don't have enough other data about age, country of residence etc to make an accurate  of a similar proportion of the blind population. Indeed, even of the initial study, I wonder exactly how accurate the figure is and what the definition of "playing video games" involves, EG is someone who sticks a coin into a pinball machine or plays a hand of mine sweeper whilst they're waiting for their computer to download a file counted as "playing video games" for purposes of this study.

I will say I expect the population of blind gamers will increase generally, indeed I've already noticed that on the forum myself in the ten years I've been here, particularly given increasing  to cheap technology such as Voiceover, narrator etc and the greater prevalence of indi developers creating games who are willing to make adaptations, indeed I still remember the days when one new game a month was considered a boom, though finding hard and fast statistical data on this is not going to be easy, after all %86 of  statistics are made up big_smile.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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2019-06-12 15:58:49

Dark, you've certainly expressed my points in a better way! I'll keep following this topic, I'm very curious.

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2019-06-12 19:17:50

According to this source it says 1.2 billion for global video game players and 700 million for online video games. I'm trying to find other sources that confirm this and shed more light on the situation.
Update: OK, This statistics list indicates that "over 2.5 billion" people play audio games. I significantly doubt we'll find any "agreeing" numbers here since its statistics and no one agrees on anything in the area of statistics. This source indicaes that "92% of people with impairments play games", however it does not specify scope. If I take that to mean globally, and I take the above two number sets (2.5 billion and 1.2 billion), then we can say that between 1.104 billion to 2.3 billion people (roughly) play games/video games with disabilities. However, as I said, I can't find agreement anywhere.

"On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament!]: 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out ?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."    — Charles Babbage.

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