EA has announced that five of its accessibility patents will be made available for use across the industry. Will EA’s pledge spark a new wave of accessibility practices?
In a recent statement made on EA’s official site, the company unveiled its “patent pledge”, which essentially lets developers use five of its patents without paying royalties.
“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.
“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 said its pledge could cover more patents in the future. However, the publisher has also promised not to “enforce any party for infringing any of the listed EA patents”. Of course, this isn’t the norm when it comes to patents, especially within the video game industry. But, there is an exception to EA’s generous pledge. Essentially, the company will refuse to share its patents with anyone who files a lawsuit at EA for infringing a different patent. So, if you’ve had a legal run-in with EA in the past, you could be blocked from using the patents.
So, what patents is Ea sharing?
Well, one of the accessibility tools is Apex Legends’ ping system. The patent list also includes an image processor that improves colour visibility, a “Contrast Radio Detection and Rendering System” that also improves visual accessibility and an audio generator that generates “personalized music based on a user’s hearing information and stylistic preference”.
Video game accessibility has come a long way in recent years. However, we will have to work together, share our tech and listen to users if we are to achieve equality within the industry. Who knows, perhaps EA’s patent pledge will inspire other companies to contribute to the accessibility cause!
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Featured Image Credit: EA