Update: Next week's update will fix Street Fighter V's audio issues, hopefully making the game playable for audibly-impaired players once again.
Capcom has outlined a number of fixes for bugs introduced in patch 3.05, and has announced a list of fixes set to arrive in the first week of March. Alongside making sure "stereo" sound plays properly, the hotfix will also resolve a few gameplay issues, and a nasty bug that caused the game to forcefully close when pressing F12 to take a screenshot.
Original Story: Capcom pushed out an update for Street Fighter V a few days ago which has alienated a chunk of its players: blind gamers.
Patch 3.05 introduced returning fighter Dan Hibiki as well as add a new stage along with other tweaks, but the update also switched the audio from stereo to mono, a change that has had a huge impact on blind Street Fighter players.
Stereo sound allows opponent spacing to be tracked because the sound comes through two separate audio channels. So if your opponent is on the left, the sound will shift over to the left side of the headset. With mono sound, however, everything is centralised, meaning that those who relied on audio cues no longer can.
Please, @streetfighter @capcomfighters or anybody else at Capcom. I just installed the new patch on my pc, went to training mode and discovered that all character sound effects like attacks, hits, jumps, block, voices etc are mono (centered).February 22, 2021
Popular blind competitive player BlindWarriorSven has spoken out about the change on Twitter, saying "I am no longer able to play this game on a high level," (thanks, EventHub). Fellow FGC member BettyDots also raised awareness of the issue, tweeting "I play Street Fighter V with a lot of blind people and the new update has made all game sounds mono, which makes it impossible to tell the spacing through audio queues.
"If not fixed, this would hurt all sightless players greatly."
I play Street Fighter V with a lot of blind people and the new update has made all game sounds mono, which makes it impossible to tell the spacing through audio queues. If not fixed, this would hurt all sightless players greatly. @CapcomUSA_ @StreetFighter need to fix this ASAP.February 22, 2021
It's unclear whether the switch from stereo to mono is an intentional change on Capcom's part, or a hiccup that went unnoticed when patching the game. The latter is more likely since the change doesn't appear in patch notes, and it would be ridiculous to suddenly shutter off a portion of your audience. We've contacted Capcom to ask what's going on, and will update with any response.
Hopefully, an emergency fix is pushed out soon—accessibility in games is still a battle that many players face, and even when it comes to things like building your own PC.