This year's additions to the pledge make it easier for more players to engage with a video game or device. It includes a patent covering a machine learning system for improving a player's experience and performance by automatically recommending and applying (if approved by the player) controller configuration settings based on the player's specific gameplay style, skill and tendencies. This technology will allow players with disabilities to discover accessibility settings that best address their needs.
Also included is technology that uses haptic feedback sequences (vibration signals) to communicate to a player both the content displayed on a screen, such as menu options or game characters, and how to select each item. The pledge additionally covers technologies that make it simpler for players to use their voice to interact with video games by easily authenticating voice-controlled devices and controlling video game characters.
Another patent covers technology already used in FIFA Mobile, which provides players with a virtual joystick that moves based on the position of the player’s thumb on a touchscreen. This allows them to continue using the control pad even if their fingers move away from their initial position, for instance, if a player has a condition that impacts their motor skills. The sixth patent builds on the color-blindness patents pledged last year and is a diagnostic system which uses in-game objects to automatically identify a player’s color-blind condition and adjusts the accessibility settings as needed in gameplay sessions.
As well as adding more patents to the pledge, EA is open-sourcing Fonttik, a tool that automatically identifies text in video content and determines whether it meets specified size and contrast ratio criteria, making it easier to ensure that the text can be read by players with varying vision conditions. The code for the software can be found here.
Chris Bruzzo, Chief Experience Officer at Electronic Arts, said:
"Innovation, creativity and inclusivity are fundamental to who we are and when we launched the accessibility patent pledge last year, we were humbled by the positive feedback we received, both from the industry and our players. Everyone at EA truly believes that nothing should come between our players and our shared love of video games, and so we're pleased to be able to keep adding more of our latest pioneering accessibility solutions to the pledge.
"When an idea from one of our incredible teams has the potential to help reduce or eliminate accessibility barriers and empower our players, we want to get it out there for others to use, even if we've not used it yet. This sharing of ideas and innovation for the good of our video gaming family is at the heart of our Accessibility Patent Pledge."
Last year's inaugural accessibility patent pledge technologies included the popular Apex Legends™' Ping System,' which enables players to communicate via simple controller inputs. The technology has been applauded for its application to reduce in-game toxicity and make the game more accessible. Also included were patented technologies that automatically detect and modify the colors, brightness and contrast in a game to improve the visibility of objects with similar luminosities, allowing players to better perceive and interact with the content.
The accessibility patent pledge builds on previous initiatives, including the launch of the Electronic Arts accessibility portal, where players can learn about the accessibility features in Electronic Arts' games, raise concerns and make suggestions for improvements. Electronic Arts also has long-standing partnerships with charities like the UK’s Special Effect to help break down barriers in video games and the wider industry.
About Electronic Arts
Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: EA) is a global leader in digital interactive entertainment. The Company develops and delivers games, content and online services for Internet-connected consoles, mobile devices and personal computers.
In fiscal year 2022, EA posted GAAP net revenue of approximately $7 billion. Headquartered in Redwood City, California, EA is recognized for a portfolio of critically acclaimed, high-quality brands such as EA SPORTS™ FIFA, Battlefield™, Apex Legends™, The Sims™, Madden NFL, Need for Speed™, Titanfall™, Plants vs. Zombies™ and F1®. More information about EA is available at www.ea.com/news.
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