Virtual reality headsets give us a glimpse at the exciting, immersive future of gaming. But VR also represents the decades-long disregard for accessibility features in games, and the tech may leave behind gamers with reduced mobility. A new SteamVR add-on called WalkinVR may help Steam games more accessible and encourage developers to build their games for all gamers.
WalkinVR is a free Windows app that adds accessibility controls to SteamVR games. With it, gamers can program shortcuts for movement controls, like crouching or standing up, or adjust their controller sensitivity to make the most of limited mobility. Gamers can also use WalkinVR to adjust controller height in-game, which should help disabled players who use wheelchairs or who have reduced arm mobility.
One of WalknVR’s most exciting features, Gameplay With Personal Assistant, allows you to turn any single-player VR game into a cooperative two-player game. A friend or assistant holds an Xbox controller and press buttons while you handle in-game movement. Gameplay With Personal Assistant sounds like a fun feature for anyone, but it should be especially helpful for players who have trouble pressing buttons.
WalkinVR is available now and works with any headset that supports SteamVR. The add-on will eventually feature Microsoft Kinect support for movement without hand-held controllers. Very few VR games support hand tracking, but developers may take hand tracking more seriously once it’s available through low-price cameras like the Kinect.