October 22, 2021

EA has made five of its accessibility patents free for any studio to use – Video Games Chronicle

Electronic Arts is sharing five of its previously protected patents that improve accessibility for players.

In a statement on the official EA site, the publisher announced a ‘patent pledge’ that lets any other game developer use five of its patents (with potentially more to follow) without having to pay any money or risk being sued.

“Through our patent pledge, we’re committing that every developer in the industry will be able to use our accessibility-centred technology patents royalty free,” the statement reads.

“Anyone can freely use these patents and implement our accessibility-centred IP in their own games to make them more inclusive.

“This pledge covers some of our most innovative technologies designed to break down barriers for players living with disabilities or medical issues. This includes those with vision, hearing, speaking or cognitive issues.”

EA has made five of its accessibility patents free for any studio to use
The patents EA is sharing include the ping system used in Apex Legends

The five patents include the ping system used in Apex Legends, where players can communicate with their teammates without speaking by placing various different markers on the map.

According to the pledge, EA “promises not to enforce any party for infringing any of the listed EA patents”, and says it “may add additional patents to this pledge at a later date”.

It only has one exception: if someone files a lawsuit against EA for infringing a different patent, EA will refuse to share the accessibility patents with them.

The five patents are as follows:

  • Contextually Aware Communications System in Video Games – Ping System that allows players to transmit contextually aware audio and visual communications generated via mappable controller inputs.
  • Systems and Methods for Automated Image Processing for Images with Similar Luminosities (two patents) – Image processing that improves visibility of colours to optimize for colour vision deficiencies.
  • Contrast Radio Detection and Rendering System – Automatically detecting contrast ratios in pixel regions of rendered frames and updating regions having subpar contrast ratios to meet contrast ratio standards or thresholds.
  • Personalized Real-Time Audio Generation Based on User Physiological Response – Generating personalized music based on a user’s hearing information and stylistic preference to best comport with that user’s hearing issues.
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