EA Haptic Feedback Patent Could Make Games More Accessible For Disabled

A recently published Electronic Arts patent is apparently intending to be able to make disabled people able to pick up the same kind of haptic feedback that non-disabled gamers can, in a different way. According to the patent itself, such things can help impaired people share similar experiences to non-disabled people.

“…a system and method for conveying information to hearing impaired and visually impaired users through haptic feedback is advantageous.”

Most video game haptics convey this sort of information through visual or audio cues, leading to the development of speakers inside controllers. While other haptic feedback has been put forward to include touch as well, even the patent remarks that visuals and audio remain the biggest methods of conveying immersion, along with how that negatively affects disabled gamers.

Modern game applications, such as video games, predominantly convey information throughvisual graphics and audio. However, the dominance of auditory and graphical conveyance of information in game applications causes interpretation issues for users with visual impairments and users with hearing impairments.

Various games such as God of War: Ragnarok have gone the extra mile in ensuring that their games are accessible to as many people as possible, and include a number of accessibility options for people who have hearing or vision problems, but there are still some games whose haptic accessibility needs work.

The main solution that the haptic patent from EA suggests as a possibility for making it more accessible to visual or hearing impaired people is to make use of Morse code sequences, allowing impaired players a chance to be able to be more immersed in the game without requiring visual or audio. The patent also goes into detail on how such a thing would work.

Identified tags for visual and audio data are sent to an external audio API for transcribing into Morse code. The Morse code transcribing is sent back to the in-game API wrapper for transcription into haptic feedback. Identified tags for available on-screen button selections are transcribed by the in-game API wrapper into haptic feedback.

Electronic Arts haptic feed… by HMiche93

Considering the greater emphasis placed on accessibility as gaming becomes more inclusive, hopefully EA will use this patent to help sight or hearing-impaired gamers all over the world be able to enjoy games more completely.

Hunter is a long time fan of strategy, RPG, and tabletop games. When he is not playing games, he likes to write about them.