EA has today announced its Patent Pledge, which promises that anyone (yes, anyone) can use five of its patented systems, royalty-free. The five systems include Apex Legends' revolutionary ping system, as well as other systems that aid accessibility.
EA says that the decision is "designed to break down barriers for players living with disabilities or medical issues." The biggest of the five patented systems is obviously Apex Legends' ping system, which not only aided accessibility for non-verbal players, but allowed teams to work together effectively without the use of voice comms. This also helped women to confidently join random teams and suffer less abuse if teammates realised their gender.
Read more: Who sits on top of our Apex Legends tier list?
EA Makes Apex Legends' Patented Ping System Free for Competitors to Use
Three patents related to vision tech, including modifying colours, brightness, and contrast to aid players with visual impairments. These systems are currently in use on EA's Madden and FIFA franchises.
The final patent relates to sound technology, but it is not in use in any of EA's games currently.
Furthermore, the code for the colorblindness, brightness, and contrast accessibility is now open-source and available on GitHub.
"At Electronic Arts, our mission is to inspire the world to play," says Chris Bruzzo, EA EVP of positive play, commercial, and marketing. "We can only make that a reality if our video games are accessible to all players. Our accessibility team has long been committed to breaking down barriers within our video games, but we realize that to drive meaningful change, we need to work together as an industry to do better for our players.
“We hope developers will make the most of these patents and encourage those who have the resources, innovation, and creativity to do as we have by making their own pledges that put accessibility first. We welcome collaboration with others on how we move the industry forward together.”
EA's legally-binding and irrevocable Patent Pledge is one of the biggest steps forward in videogame accessibility since the Xbox Adaptive Controller, and will hopefully go a long way to making games more accessible for all.