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EA patented accessibility options now free for all developers and publishers to use in their games

While EA receives quite a bit of flack for some of their games and practises, they have recently been working on making games more accessible to those of you with disabilities or medical issues. Today, the company announced that their patented accessibility system is now free for everyone to use in their video games, marking a big step forward in helping gamers with various disabilities enjoy and benefit from video games, more so than they had in the past. These medical issues or disabilities apply to those with various vision, hearing, speaking or cognitive issues. The shared EA accessibility patents are as follows and the company says more will be added in the future:

  • Contextually Aware Communications Systems in Video Games (Patent No. US 11,097,189), which includes Apex Legends’ widely praised Ping System.
  • Systems and Methods for Automated Image Processing for Images with Similar Luminosities (Patent No. US 10,118,097 and CN 107694092), which helps address colour vision deficiencies.
  • Contrast Ratio Detection and Rendering System (Patent No. US 10,878,540), which covers a system that automatically detects and updates subpart contrast rations — again, helping with visibility.
  • Personalised Real-Time Audio Generation Based on User Physiological Response (Patent No. US 10,790,919), which covers technology that plays personalised music based on a user’s hearing issues. While patented, this has not yet been developed by EA.

Here’s what EA’s executive vice president of Positive Play, commercial and marketing Chris Bruzzo told GamesIndustry.biz

“We want to encourage this, we want to be bringing others along. It’s like ‘Here’s some technology that we’ve invented, and has value in the world — what have you got?’ Let’s contribute and [freely] licence these innovations to each other to the greater good of players everywhere.”

EA’s Chris Bruzzo

“It’s reported that 15% of the global population has some disability that would impair their ability to play our games the way others can. So it’s a pretty big and important area for us to consider. 

“But then you get to the next level of accessibility which is ‘Well, what about everyone else who maybe doesn’t have as direct a disability or something that’s holding them back, but in general are feeling that games aren’t accessible? 

“I think that’s the biggest question, and to be honest I don’t think our work will ever be done as an industry in that, but there are some very important things that are happening now.”

EA’s Chris Bruzzo

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4 comments

  1. The fact they patented accessibility options is vile.
    Didn’t even knew they did it but coming from EA what can one expect?

    1. You took workers time to develop this software, I don’t think it’s a bad thing for them to get paid for the efforts. Presumably they are getting bonuses from the game’s sales like with other companies. At this point it’s kinda mute so it makes sense why EA will let anyone use it for free now. (The patent is also there so others can’t try to claim they are the one’s who came up and developed the ideas. There are companies even lower than EA who will try to say they invented this stuff and then post about it across social media to try to get the publics attention.)

    2. Companies make things and expect money for their time and investment. I help develop software for medical diagnostics and I’m compensated for it. Good things don’t come for free just because they’re good. But when they do that’s awesome!
      I think it’s kind of great that they’re opening it up for everyone now. Maybe we can focus on the positive – just this one time. ;D

    3. You can patent far worse things.

      Life saving drugs can be patented and then sold at extremely high costs which puts them out of reach from those who need them but can’t afford them.

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