Controllers have always been a cause of controversy for players in the video game industry, particularly when it comes to the competitive shooter genre. Even the most recognised competitive players, like Michael Grzesiek (Shroud), have recently come forward to criticise controller players for using aim-assist in competitive shooting games, calling it “pretty much the same thing as cheating.” However, despite the recent criticism that controllers have been receiving in the competitive video game community, companies continue to make it all the more accessible for players to use controllers in all sorts of video games, whether competitive or not.
Shroud giving his thoughts on Nadia cheating allegations 👀 pic.twitter.com/QnRb9aYBtF
— Full Squad Gaming (@fullsquadgaming) October 5, 2022
One such company that’s working tirelessly to make controllers more accessible to players is Electronic Arts, one of the most noteworthy video game companies of all time. In August 2021, the company announced its Accessibility Patent Pledge, which enabled all developers to use any of the company’s accessibility-centred technologies. Since then, many patents have come forward from Electronic Arts that are focused on improving both the accessibility and playability of its video games. One such patent discusses an automated controller configuration recommendation system using machine learning that adjusts controller settings based on a player’s input tendency and skill level (among other attributes).
Earlier today, we came across a recently published patent from Electronic Arts titled “AUTOMATED CONTROLLER CONFIGURATION RECOMMENDATION SYSTEM,” filed in August 2020 but published only a little over two weeks ago. The abstract of the patent reads, “Various aspects of the subject technology relate to systems, methods, and machine-readable media for adjusting controller settings. The method includes receiving, through a controller associated with a user, controller input for software.” Based on this, it’s evidently clear that Electronic Arts is working on an automated system that adjusts the controller settings of a player based on certain attributes received through the controller input.
It further reads, “The method also includes determining, based on the controller input, a user profile for the user comprising at least a skill level and an input tendency of the user,” which means that the automated controller configuration recommendation system will function by creating a user profile specific to the player, likely comprising of the player’s skill level and preference(s) when it comes to the controller input. However, these may not be the only attributes that the automated controller configuration recommendation system will take into consideration.
“The method also includes providing suggested adjustments to the controller settings intended to improve performance of the user in relation to the software, the controller settings comprising at least one of controller sensitivity or controller assignments,” it clarifies. Hence, it seems like the company aspires to assist in improving the performance of players in-game by recommending customised controller settings adjusted specifically to their needs. Controller settings can certainly make the difference between victory and defeat in competitive video games or even ruin the playability in non-competitive ones, which is why Electronic Arts likely may want to bridge that gap so as to make video games more accessible to all players.
Furthermore, the patent also discusses the automated controller configuration recommendation system accounting for the controller configuration settings used by the most skilled players in a particular game and then comparing them to players that have similar preferences to form recommendations. “The system may also account for configuration settings that are used by the most skilled users, and then makes a comparison to users who have similar tendencies to form recommendations,” it reads. Additionally, the automated controller configuration recommendation system “may also be configured for automatic/dynamic adjustments,” which means that the controller configuration settings may be adjusted automatically while actively playing a video game. Of course, all these implementations can be enabled or disabled by the player.
In addition to this, the patent also discusses a feature to allow players to share their controller configuration settings across social media platforms, “Additionally, configuration profiles can be shared on a social media platform and updated over time.” Hence, players may adjust their own controller configuration settings according to the ones that their friends/family or favourite content creators/competitive players have while also having it be automatically updated if any changes were to occur in the future.
As mentioned in the patent, the automated controller configuration recommendation system may use machine learning to implement all the features discussed. “According to aspects, a machine learning system may account for how users are interfacing with software (e.g., a simulation, a video game, a developer tool, etc.) through a controller (e.g., an analog/digital controller including a gamepad, keyboard and mouse, a control surface, a handicapped accessible controller, steering wheel, flight stick, pedals, etc.). The system may provide recommendations 206 for configuration settings of the controller to aid each user’s respective tendencies,” it reads.
As one instance of the implementation(s) the patent discusses, in a first-person shooter, if the player is frequently shot from behind, the automated controller configuration recommendation system may recommend increasing the controller sensitivity. Similarly, if a weapon’s recoil is hindering the player’s ability to aim properly, it may recommend decreasing the controller sensitivity. Additionally, the automated controller configuration recommendation system may also recommend the most common adjustments made by other players in a certain ranking level within a particular video game. Furthermore, the patent also discusses how the automated controller configuration recommendation system can be used to make video games more accessible to disabled players as well.
While Electronic Arts has almost always been under criticism from players, it seems like the company may actually be trying to resolve some of its issues, starting with improving its in-game accessibility features. While it’s still unsure as to how this said automated controller configuration recommendation system would be implemented by the company (if at all), it’s still somewhat gratifying to know that the company does actually care about its players (to some extent).
What do you think about this? Do tell us your opinions in the comments below!
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