I read so many posts saying what was going to be in the PS4 Accessibility update, but I really wanted to actually dig into the functionality and see what actually works and what doesn’t. I spent a couple of days with multiple options on to see what stuck and what didn’t, and what was needing more love in the coming months. I spent most of the time trying these options out through the main system menu, as well as while playing Destiny as well as Final Fantasy Type-0. I was curious if the newer releases would behave differently with the accessibility options than older releases. Now, for every accessibility option present in the 2.5 update.
-Text To Speech
-‘Speak text on the screen, and provide spoken guidance for operating the system. Text to speech works only with some features.
-not spoken in the accessibility menu
-only with English
-normal speed, 3 types of slow speak, three types of fast speak.
-spoken during during on screen keyboard
-happens during some menus (party menu) but not others?
I didn’t really see much of the Text-To-Speech functionality within the system. I liked that there were many different choices for speed of voice, but being only English at the moment is limiting a possible global use of the system software. I noticed the text to speech actually work once during a pop-up on screen keyboard segment where it read each letter and described different options I highlighted. I also opened the party menu well after I had forgot that I had left the text to speech option on and suddenly my PS4 was yelling at me about SharePlay options. I didn’t have this option function anywhere besides the party menu and the on screen keyboard. Really lacking.
-PS and square
-circle to close
-dpad or analogue stick to move zoom
-Only one level of zoom
-doesn’t close out of menu when cancelling zoom
-can’t play game zoomed
Zoom is one of the best functioning features. Simply pressing the PS button and the square begins a zoom function anywhere. You can then use the d-pad or analog stick to move around the screen, staying zoomed in. Hitting circle zooms you out. During your zoom, only these buttons work as described, so you are unable to play the game while zoomed in. Worked in any menu I tried, and in any game. It also doesn’t activate the circle button in game, so if you’re popping out of zoom, you won’t accidentally trigger something in game. Nice.
-Light to dark, dark to light, blue to red, red to blue.
-works on menus and in game.
-doesn’t apply to screenshots.
Functions just as described. Easy to see it in game and also in menu. This effect doesn’t follow through to any screenshots you take.
-didn’t change in menu
-didn’t change in Destiny
-have seen pictures of larger fonts in screenshots by other users, didn’t change anything for me?
I think this may have been a glitch or a hook-up, but the option did nearly nothing for me personally. I’ve heard that it enlarges the text in all of the menus from someone who was in an early access program, but for me it just enlarged the on-screen keyboard. Broken? Maybe.
-changed in menu
-didn’t change in Destiny
-did change main bar (game titles on list, etc.)
-changed in game options
The bold text is displayed in the featured image at the top of the article. Makes all the fonts wider. Didn’t change certain aspects, changed others. Hitting the options button on a game on the menu brought up an enlarged text list, but the game titles themselves weren’t enlarged. Didn’t change anything in game.
-”adjusts the colors of text and backgrounds to improve the clarity of things on screen”
-instant change in menu colors
-slight change in Destiny colors
This option brightened most written words, and darkened backgrounds. Greatly improved readability of system menus. Changes the default Sony backgrounds, but does not affect ‘premium themes’.
-”Display closed captions as specified by Content setting”
-does not change look of subtitles within Destiny
-unknown at the moment of what this does within a game
So this option is here, but it doesn’t seem to change anything? It doesn’t turn on closed captions automatically, nor gave closed captions for text to speech. I thought it may turn on subtitles to games that didn’t originally have them, but it didn’t change anything. Placeholder for future use?
-Does allow you to completely change buttons
-can change left/right sticks
-also includes L3 and R3 buttons
-will still say original buttons in game menus, not the swapped ones.
The big one. Allows you fully remap the controller. Do you want the X button to act like your R2? Do you want to swap stick functionality, and turn your d-pad into your face buttons? All of that is here and works flawlessly. Works in every game I tried. The only issue with this is it won’t change any in-game depictions of buttons, so more than a few times in Final Fantasy Type-0 I was unable to close a menu the first time because I had forgot what button I had made circle. This menu is a breakthrough for accessibility on a console on a large scale.
-Text to speech
You can also set up so that a mini Accessibility Menu is available when you hold the PS button. In that menu you can quickly enable the text to speech, invert the colors of the system, as well as enable your custom button assignments. Really easy if you need them for a specific segment of the game. The custom buttons would probably allow you to swap back and forth between the normal controls and one for a specific situation that you would pre-program. Nice little addition.
Overall, the PS4 Accessibility 2.5 update does many things well, but has a few places to catch up. Text to speech seems oddly lacking, as well as some functions not acting fully operational (large text, where did you go?) I am highly excited to see games take hold of these options. I would greatly enjoy the day when I can turn on Closed Captions and see a game automatically turn on subtitles/closed captions the first time I boot it. The Xbox 360 allowed you to make every game inverted simply in your preferences, and I shudder to think that there may be ways that the 360 is more advanced than the PS4. Knowing Sony, this is the first step in a much longer journey that many, many people are glad they are undertaking.
Knowing that Sony is taking these options to heart, I hope that other developers do the same. For tips on how best to make your game accessible, check out http://includification.com/ for tips on making your games accessible, so everyone can game.
Update – 4/14/2015 – I had some hands on time with a PS Vita! The Vita does indeed have the Zoom, Invert Colors, Larger Text, Bold Text, High Contrast, Closed Captions, and Button Assignment accessibility options. The Button Assignment option does not allow any changes to touch screen mechanics. It also allows you to put some of the Accessibility features on the quick menu, but it is limited to inverting colors and enabling/disabling custom button assignments. Most of the options work very similar to their PS4 counterparts besides the changes mentioned previously.