EA is opening the patents for five of its accessibility technologies, which are useful for both gaming and general software design. Any person or business can use these technologies for free, and EA has even open-sourced some code to make adoption and adaptation easier.
Most of EA’s accessibility tech revolves around colorblindness and low vision. One such technology, which you may know from Madden and FIFA, automatically processes images to accommodate different forms of colorblindness (patents US 10,118,097 and CN 107694092). Other technologies adjust contrast and luminescence (US 10,878,540) for those with poor eyesight.
These automatic image processing tools could find a lot of use outside the world of gaming. Companies could develop a computer monitor that automatically increases the visibility of software and websites, for example.
The rest of EA’s free patents accommodate hearing disabilities, though they could also help non-speaking or non-verbal people participate in team-based multiplayer games. The most notable of these patents is the EA ping system (US 11,097,189), which allows people to communicate with teammates in Apex Legends without voicechat.
But the final (and most mysterious) EA patent is also quite notable. It’s a real-time audio generator (US 10,790,919), and it creates or modifies music based on a users’ preferences. This audio generator could help people who are hard of hearing experience the dynamic background music of a game like Zelda or Skyrim, for example. It could also remove irritating sounds from a game for people with auditory sensitivity.
EA plans to open patents for more accessibility technology in the future, and invites everyone, including its competitors, to take advantage of its now-free tools. If you’re a game or software developer, you should probably check through EA’s Patent Pledge to see how the company’s tech can improve your products.