Along with the Apex Legends ping system patent, EA is now releasing patents for the technology it uses in Madden and FIFA to make it more accessible for people with color blindness and low vision. The technology includes automated systems to improve visibility when detecting and modifying colors (US 10,118.097) and contrast ratios (US 10,878,540).
In addition to opening some of its patents, EA is releasing source code that helps solve issues with brightness, contrast and color blindness in digital content. Developers can find the code on GitHub and adapt or build it for their own games.
The pledge also includes a patent for a “custom sound technology” (US 10,878,540) that will modify or create music for people based on their preferences and listening level, although EA says this technology has not yet been developed. Electronic Arts will then be pledging to open patents for some of its accessibility-related technologies, including the much celebrated Apex Legends ping system, announced earlier this week.
EA says it will not file infringement lawsuits against individuals or companies for the use of technology that falls within the patents listed in the pledge. The ping system in Apex Legends, which allows people to play the game as a team without listening or speaking, was praised as an impressive alternative to voice chat and a great accessibility feature for players with a variety of disabilities. A patent covering the system (US 11,097,189) was issued on the same day as EA’s announcement of the pledge.
Note that ‘ping’ is a utility that uses the ICMP protocol to test connectivity between devices. It is a command available in practically all operating systems, and its operation consists of sending packets to the destination equipment and “listening” to the responses.
If the target equipment is active, a response is sent back to the requesting computer. “We hope ‘developers’ will make the most of these patents and encourage those who have the resources, innovation and creativity to do what we do, making their own promises that put accessibility first,” says Chris Bruzzo, EVP of Positive Play, Commercial and Marketing at EA.
“We welcome collaboration with others on how we take the industry forward together.” EA says it plans to add patents for future accessibility-related technologies, as well as more open-source of its technology.