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Top publisher EA hands out accessibility patents for free to help gamers with disabilities

Ed Nightingale August 24, 2021
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Apex Legends from EA

Apex Legends. (Respawn/EA)

Games publisher Electronic Arts (EA) are committing to accessibility in games with a bold and charitable new patent pledge.

EA will share five of its patents for free for any studios to use, to improve accessibility in all games.

The pledge was shared in a statement on the EA website.

“At EA, we believe that it’s imperative to meet the needs of diverse populations in gaming and beyond,” it reads.

“This includes, importantly, the needs of those with disabilities. Through our patent pledge, we’re committing that every developer in the industry will be able to use our accessibility-centered technology patents – royalty free.

“This pledge covers some of our most innovative technologies designed to break down barriers for players living with disabilities or medical issues.”

So far, five patents are included in the pledge, which includes the ‘ping’ system used for non-verbal communication in Apex Legends.

More patents may also be added in the future. 

The five patents are as follows:

Ping System that allows players to transmit contextually aware audio and visual communications generated via mappable controller inputs.

Image processing that improves visibility of colours to optimise for colour vision deficiencies (two patents).

Automatically detecting contrast ratios in pixel regions of rendered frames and updating regions having subpar contrast ratios to meet contrast ratio standards or thresholds.

Generating personalised music based on a user’s hearing information and stylistic preference to best comport with that user’s hearing issues.

Accessibility in gaming is becoming an increasingly important consideration for game developers. Sony is somewhat leading the charge with the impressive array of accessibility features in both The Last of Us Part II and Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart.

Psychonauts 2 developer Double Fine has also shown support for accessibility. 

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Related topics: gaming

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