EA releases accessibility technology – encourages developers to “put accessibility first”

Apex Legends ping system is included in the pledge

EA has announced that it will be allowing free access to some of its accessibility-related patents and technologies.

EA’s new patent pledge will allow developers to use five patented technologies without fear of legal ramifications. These include some of EA’s accessibility technologies which the company hopes will encourage others to make their games more inclusive to all.

The Apex Legends ping system is among the patents, which is patented as a contextually aware communication system. The system allows players to communicate everything they need to work well with online teammates without using a microphone. The system helps people with speaking, hearing, and cognitive disabilities who struggle communicating by converting information to commands that players can easily access at any time.

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Another key technology included in the pledge is a system that automatically adapts images to ensure that colours with similar luminosities are altered with contrast and brightness. This allows players to better perceived and interact with content that may need additional clarity. This is most seen in the Madden, FIFA, and NHL games. The system allows players to distinguish similar colours more easily.

FIFA 22. Credit: EA

Executive vice president of positive play, commercial and marketing Chris Bruzzo said, “We hope developers will make the most of these patents and encourage those who have the resources, innovation and creativity to do as we have by making their own pledges that put accessibility first. We welcome collaboration with others on how we move the industry forward together.”

Another patent included in the pledge is a technology that has not been developed but would allow games to alter audio outputs based on player preference dynamically. This would allow players to tailor sounds to suit their preferences and needs better.

One technology for visual accessibility has become fully open source, with the code available on GitHub.

EA has also said that further patents could be added to the pledge in future.

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Bruzzo added, “We are always listening to our players so we can understand where there are unmet needs we need to deliver for. It’s important to us that everyone feels welcome in our games, and that level of inclusion has to be rooted in community feedback.  These technologies exist to help more people around the world experience great games, and we’re very proud of the role our community plays in driving innovations that can make a difference.”

Elsewhere, Respawn has deployed an Apex Legends hotfix to nerf the latest legend, Seer.

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