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Saturday, May 21, 2022

What issues do colourblind gamers face in 2020?

With around 4.5% of the world’s population suffering some form of colour blindness it is probable that there is a fairly large section of gamers who struggle with colours just as I do. There is more than one type of colour blindness but Deutan (Red/Green) is by far the most common. Although women can also be colourblind, statistically you’re are far more likely to be affected if you are male. The biggest cause of colour blindness is passed through genetics and thus inherited.

81 million colourblind gamers worldwide

In order to get a rough idea of how many gamers worldwide suffer from colour blindness, I took a statistic from the website Statista which states in 2014 there are around 1.8 billion gamers. This figure is predicted to rise to around 2.7 billion in 2021. I didn’t want to make things too complicated so I decided to take the average figure of colourblindness rather than working out a rough estimate for two groups being male and female. Around 4.5% of the worlds population is colour blind. This gives us a total of around 81 million gamers across the world suffer from colour blindness which I think we can all agree is no small number. I didn’t expect the number of colour blind gamers to be quite so high.

Many games now include some form of colour blind options with the intention of making life a little bit easier for colourblind gamers. I don’t know if it is just me, but I often find these profiles do not help and are often worse than the default colours. It is this frustration that gave me the idea to write this article and bring awareness to colour blindness.
I took a number of colour blindness tests and got results ranging from mild to serve deuteranopia (red/green colourblindness)

At best my results were mild and at worst serve deuteranopia. I struggle with more colours then merely red and green. I often confuse blues and purples, orange and reds. My eyes can see a difference but isn’t always able to choose which one is which. You learn to live with colour blindness. It isn’t always a foolproof method but through trial and error over the years I have learnt to ignore what my eyes see knowing that the actual colour is blue and not purple even though my eyes tell me purple.

The main issue I have with regards to this and gaming is deciphering friend from foe using coloured markers such as those seen in Planetside 2, Battlefield 1 & 5. Most modern first person shooters use a similar marker system. Some are easier for me to use, and others much harder. The environment/map you are playing on also plays a big part in this. If you’re fighting in a jungle and enemies have red markers, it is quite likely I won’t be able to notice anything until there is enough movement for my eyes to pick up on. that I can pick up on. Before Overwatch implemented the option to select custom colours for enemy outlines I would often miss enemies hiding in what I imagine most poeple would pick up on instantly. I guess the best way to describe this is my colour blindness almost gives enemy players a special sort of camouflage. Being able to change the outline of enemies in Overwatch to yellow instead of red was truly a godsend.

Blue for friendlies, Green for Squadmates and a bright Purple or Pink for enemies usually works best for me

Each game is different and you may need to do a little trial and error tweaking to find what works best for you. I try and keep some uniformity when creating a colour profile otherwise you can confuse yourself as to who is friendly and who isn’t when playing different games. Generally I opt for using blue or a very bright green (I know you wouldn’t think I could use green but as long as it is very bright and vibrant it is usually ok). Bright pink/purple for enemies.

Friendly = Blue

Squad = Light/Baby Blue or Vibrant Green

Enemies = Bright Pink

Neutrals = White

Whether you suffer from colour blindness or not I would love to hear your opinions and thoughts on this matter. Please leave a comment below if you have suggestions that could aid colour blind gamers.

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