Anyone can now use five EA technologies, including Apex Legends’ ping system, without cost or repercussions.
EA is making its five accessibility-related technology patents — including Apex Legends’ ping system — freely available to anyone, including competitors.
The publisher announced today that it was making a “Patents Pledge,” promising to make five of its patents, as well as future accessible technologies, available for free and without repercussions to anyone who wishes to use them indefinitely.
This effectively means that other developers, competitors, or others can use any of these five patents without fear of being sued by EA.
The ping system from Apex Legends, which was lauded at the game’s launch for allowing players to communicate easily in-game, is the most notable of the five patents EA is making available. Apex was praised for making it more accessible to players with hearing, speaking, or cognitive disabilities thanks to the system.
Example Screenshots from EA’s Accessibility Patents Pledge
Three other vision accessibility patents include technology that detects and modifies the colors, brightness and contrast in a game to improve object visibility. This technology can currently be found in the Madden NFL and FIFA video game franchises.
The fifth patent isn’t currently in use in any EA games, but it is related to personalized sound technology that can help players with hearing problems. Players can use it to make or change music based on their hearing preferences.
In addition, EA is making code for colorblindness, brightness, and contrast accessibility in digital content available for download. This code will be made public on GitHub.
“Our mission at Electronic Arts is to inspire the world to play,” said Chris Bruzzo, EA’s executive vice president of positive play, commercial, and marketing. “We can only make that a reality if all players can play our video games.” Our accessibility team has long been dedicated to breaking down barriers in our video games, but we recognize that we must work together as an industry to achieve meaningful change for our players.
“We hope that developers will take advantage of these patents and that those with the resources, innovation, and creativity will follow our lead by making their own pledges to prioritize accessibility. We welcome collaboration with others on how we can collectively advance the industry.”
In recent years, the games industry has seen a growing push for more accessible technology, features, games, and hardware, most notably with the launch of Xbox’s Adaptive Controller several years ago and subsequent pushes for accessibility with its hardware and software on its platforms. More recently, disabled gamers’ initiative AbleGamers raised $1 million for its initiatives to support accessible gaming for everyone.
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