EA has revealed a patent pledge that will provide any game developer royalty-free access to five of the company’s accessibility-related patents.
In a statement on the company website, the publisher has confirmed that the use of the five patents are free and the company will not enforce an infringement claim against anyone who chooses to use them.
There is but one caveat developers must adhere to in order to use the patents, however. If a party files a patent infringement lawsuit against EA or its partners, the company withholds the right to terminate the pledge with said party.
The "ping system" utilised in Apex Legends is included in this group, allowing users to non-verbally communicate via selecting items or locations in-game. The other listed patents include three patents that pertain to colour visibility, contrast ratios for those with vision deficiencies and personalised sound technology that can modify audio and music for individuals with hearing impairments.
Additionally, EA has suggested that further patents may be included in the pledge in the future.
Breaking down barriers
"At EA, we believe that it’s imperative to meet the needs of diverse populations in gaming and beyond," the statement reads.
"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-centred technology patents - royalty-free. Anyone can freely use these patents and implement our accessibility-centred IP in their own games to make them more inclusive.
"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."
Earlier this month, Nintendo settled a five-year patent infringement dispute with White Cat Project developers Colopl, with the latter agreeing to pay an undisclosed amount and committing to pay for any future use of Nintendo owned patents.