Sea of Thieves accessibility stats show just how far the game has come

Ben Bayliss2 minute read

Since launch, 55% of Sea of Thieves updates have contained accessibility features with 43 individual features and improvements being delivered in the last year following new stats.

In a GAConf EU 2022 From Intent to Impact talk, Xander Ashwell, director of accessibility and UX at Rare shared how Sea of Thieves has progressed with accessibility since the launch of the game. There were a number of interesting statistics delivered before jumping more into the development process.

In an honest reflection, the talk points to the game launching in March 2018 with “bare bones accessibility features” and the lack of public-facing communications about accessibility amongst other things. However, March 2022 has seen a number of impressive figures.

Ashwell reveals that 55% of all updates to Sea of Thieves have included accessibility features. Additionally, in the last year, there have been 49 individual features or improvements added to the game.

Watch From intent to impact – integrating accessibility into team culture on YouTube

It’s detailed that developers self-identify areas for improvement and new features heading to Sea of Thieves ship with accessibility as a core priority.

All public-facing communications such as the website, forums, customer support, and more are said to be WCAG 2.1 compliant now. In addition, there are dedicated feedback loops and support guides, as well as a dedicated accessibility page. There’s also an accessibility-focused full-time role and the studio is set up as Accessibility Champs @ Rare Network.

Those keeping up with Sea of Thieves updates will recall there have been a lot of improvements and additions. Nautical Narration was introduced back in October 2021, before that the Pirates of the Caribbean update contained new features, the UI and Text legibility was improved, and there was an update for narrated emotes and an auto move feature, and many more.

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Ben
BaylissEditor-in-ChiefHe/Him

Ben is the one in charge of keeping the content cogs at Can I Play That? turning. Deafness means that he has a focus on discussing captions, but with experience in consultancy and advocacy, he covers what bases he can. Having written about accessibility in video games at DualShockers, GamesRadar+, GamesIndustry.biz, Wireframe, and more he continues his advocacy at CIPT. He was actually awarded a Good Games Writing award for an article he wrote here! He enjoys a range of games, but anything that’s open-world and with a photo mode will probably be his cup of tea. You can get in touch with him at: ben@caniplaythat.com

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