EA’s ‘patent pledge’ openly shares tech patents in an effort to increase game accessibility

    
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I blew things up!

Everyone, regardless of physical or medical issues, should be allowed to enjoy gaming, and Electronic Arts is attempting to facilitate as much by openly sharing five tech patents with all game devs, promising in a so-called “patent pledge” that studios using these listed tech patents will not face any legal repercussions from EA.

“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. Anyone can freely use these patents and implement our accessibility-centered 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.”

The patents in question include tech that automatically detects and modifies the colors, brightness, contrast, and colorbindness features of a game; tech that modifies or creates music based on player hearing preferences; and the popular ping system that’s used in Apex Legends. The pledge post further points out that additional patents may be made open source at a later time.

sources: press release, EA.com via Gamasutra
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rk70534

EA’s attempt to prove Yoda wrong. Let’s see how far this redemption arc carries them…

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Toy Clown

As someone who is deaf and feels left out of grouping and social content in MMOs due to so many people requiring voice now, I can greatly appreciate this.

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Dankey Kang

I think this is one of the handful of times that EA has done something good for the world. I seem to remember not too long ago they were considered the absolute scum of the videogame world; luckily for them, Actiblizz wears that crown now.

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somber_bliss

No king rules forever.

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IronSalamander8 .

While this is a good thing, it feels weird that it’s EA doing this. I heartily approve of them making accessibility tech more widely available, but also expect the other shoe to drop at any time.

A couple weeks ago here on MOP I made the comment that with all the sexual harassment and worse coming out of Actiblizzard, Riot, and Ubisoft, that EA were looking better than usual by comparison, and they’re just adding to that with this.

On a related note; I had to deal with this my own board game design when a color-blind tester, with the common green/red color blind issue made the comment that the icons I used for offense dice (red squares to match the red dice), and defense dice (green squares to match the green dice), were throwing him off. I’m so used to green and red for many reasons, that I didn’t even think of that and had to create new icons for the different custom dice and then reprint everything, which was a pain and a lot of ink, so I have a color blind reference chart on my phone so that never happens again.

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Schmidt.Capela

There are a few apps (at least for Android) that apply filters in real time to the phone’s camera to simulate different kinds of color blindness. It might be an useful extra tool to make sure this kind of accessibility issue won’t go unnoticed again. I’ve even seen a board game review site use them in order to both allow the non-colorblind owner to test for that issue and to show the (for the most part non-colorblind) site’s audience how it might be a problem.

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angrakhan

Oh my guess is that they looked at these patents, calculated how much money they were really earning from them, then looked over at the dumpster fire at ActiBliz, and saw an opportunity to improve their image. I don’t think there’s some other shoe waiting to drop. I think they’re just letting go of a minor asset to hopefully win some solid, positive PR for once.

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Simon Gördén

Good