Electronic Arts is opening patents for a number of its technologies to make games more accessible to users with disabilities. EA has announced that starting today, it is offering its accessibility patents to anyone who wants to use them.
The company boasts some of the most powerful accessibility options in the video game industry. The same ones used by some of the most successful games on the market, such as Battlefield, FIFA, The Sims or Apex Legends. In addition, EA also makes free access to accessibility technology available to any developer.
The patented systems are designed to help players with a variety of speech, hearing, vision and cognitive impairments. EA also notes that it will not sue developers for using these particular patents.
List Of EA Accessibility Patents With Free Access:
The ‘Ping System’ — used in Apex Legends. It helps people with hearing, cognitive and speech disabilities who have difficulty communicating. It addresses this problem by allowing players to communicate contextual visual and audio commands and announcements through simple, assignable controller inputs — instead of a headset and microphone.
Three of the five patents that the initiative will affect relate to technologies that make video games more accessible to players with visual impairments. These technologies are already widely used in popular EA games, including the Madden NFL and FIFA franchises. The proprietary toolkit automatically detects and modifies colors, brightness and contrast in-game to improve the visibility of objects of similar brightness. This allows players to better perceive and interact with the content.
EA has also posted the source code on GitHub for its color blind accessibility tools. With the published code, any developer can use Electronic Arts technology without paying royalties or stopping to develop their own accessibility technology.
The fifth patent concerns audio customization technology designed to help gamers with hearing impairments. This technology modifies or recreates music that is tailored to the hearing characteristics and preferences of this category of users — taking into account all the restrictions they may face. Now it is not yet used in any of the company’s games.
List of all patents can be seen on the official EA Patent Commitment page to improve accessibility. Electronic Arts also encouraged all developers with the necessary resources to make the most of the patents listed above.
EA says it plans to add patents for future accessibility-related tech, as well as open more of its technologies.