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JBL’s Free Software Facilitates Enhanced Gaming Experience for Individuals with Low Vision in ‘Counter Strike 2

April 10, 2024 | by Herzen Garcia

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“The initial experience of launching a high-quality AAA game after what seems like an eternity… surprisingly, it felt incredibly satisfying.”

There’s now an enhancement for first-person shooter (FPS) games catering to individuals with low vision. JBL, in collaboration with AbleGamers and Harman, has developed innovative software called JBL Quantum Guide Play. This software, compatible with games like Counter Strike 2, utilizes Spatial Audio, JBL Quantum’s head tracking technology, and advanced AI algorithms. Its purpose is to translate in-game elements into audio cues, mimicking the process of echolocation. Through sound, gamers can now navigate the virtual world, identifying obstacles and landmarks.

It’s a complimentary tool now accessible for download from JBL’s website, designed specifically for Windows users, and is functional with or without headphones. Additionally, a training map is available on Steam.

Partnering with the nonprofit AbleGamers, dedicated to alleviating social isolation among individuals with disabilities through gaming community-building, JBL has introduced this groundbreaking software. Sophie Soon, a Paralympic athlete and gamer diagnosed with cone-rod dystrophy, shared her experience in a video for JBL Quantum Guide Play. She reminisced about her enjoyment of playing Left For Dead on Xbox during her teenage years but lamented the increasing difficulty due to her deteriorating vision. However, upon using the Guide Play application, she expressed amazement at its intricate details, such as providing audio cues for nearby walls or alerting her to enemy presence.

Josh Tseng, a digital accessibility specialist, YouTuber, and gamer diagnosed with congenital glaucoma, echoed similar sentiments. He confessed feeling left out as popular games like Counter-Strike: GO and Fortnite gained traction while not being tailored for visually impaired players.

According to the World Health Organization, approximately 2.2 billion individuals worldwide have near or distance vision impairments, many of whom are gamers like Tseng and Soon. JBL afforded them the opportunity to evaluate the Guide Play software individually and in multiplayer LAN party settings.

Reflecting on his experience, Tseng remarked, ‘When I loaded up the game, it gave all the sound effects, the loading screen, and the whole experience of loading up an AAA game for the first time in what has to be years. It actually felt really good.

Rediscovering the Joy of Launching an AAA Game After Years

In a press release, JBL expressed its desire for the gaming community to provide feedback on the software to aid in its enhancement. Additionally, developers are encouraged to download the open-source code for integration into their own games, with availability expected “soon” as per the website.

Grace Koh, Vice President and General Manager of Consumer Audio at Harman Asia Pacific, stated, “Through JBL Quantum Guide Play, we are establishing a platform that enhances gaming experiences for all, transcending barriers and fostering a more inclusive gaming community.”

She continued, “JBL Quantum Guide Play represents just the initial stride towards accessibility in FPS games. By making it open-source, we hope that brands and developers will embrace it for their games and actively contribute to its refinement.

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