The need for better accessibility in gaming is something that a lot of developers have come to realize. Now, EA steps up to the plate with its new Patents Pledge initiative, giving its competitors direct access to its accessibility patents.
It is encouraging other developers to join the program, too.
Introducing EA's Patents Pledge Initiative
An announcement at EA.com confirms that EA has launched a new program—Patents Pledge—which essentially makes all of EA's accessibility patents open to its competitors. Competing devs can then incorporate these accessibility tools into their own games and applications without the fear of legal retribution from EA.
Not only that; EA has also invited other developers to add their accessibility patents to the pool, for everyone else to use, too. This is an industry-changing step by EA which, if successful, will see the floodgates open for better accessibility in games.
The pledge, linked above, states:
At EA, we believe that it’s imperative to meet the needs of diverse populations in gaming and beyond. This includes, importantly, the needs of those with disabilities. 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.
So, this is excellent news for gamers with additional accessibility requirements. Hopefully, more developers will join the scheme.
What Accessibility Patents Are EA Sharing?
EA has kindly listed the available patents on the Pledge page linked above.
We have Apex Legends' Ping System, which allows those living with hearing, speaking, or cognitive accessibility requirements, to communicate with other team-members in-game, via control inputs that trigger certain commands or messages in Apex.
There are also patents that appear in a wide range of immeasurably popular titles, such as the FIFA franchise, which assist those living with sight issues. These patents alter settings in game like contrast and brightness.
Finally, there is a patent that allows the generation of music suited to the hearing needs of a gamer playing titles with the feature.
Why Has EA Announced This Patents Pledge?
At the end of the day, it is all about making games accessible to everyone, no matter what their abilities outside of gaming. EA itself says:
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 wants everyone to enjoy its games and recognizes that, only by sharing information between competition brands, can this become the case.
A Positive Step From EA
This is a landmark decision by EA that will undoubtedly improve accessibility in gaming. Hopefully, we'll see other major players like Microsoft and Sony joining the Patents Pledge, too. This way, gaming will be available to everybody.