NVIDIA's Freestyle filters can add colorblind graphics mode to games
If you read about NVIDIA's announcements from CES 2018, you can be forgiven for thinking that the company's "Freestyle" graphics filters were a bit of a gimmick. The ability to add Instagram-style tints, contrast adjustments, and color filters to 100s of games at the driver level (meaning game developers aren't involved at all) is cool, for sure, but it's nothing more than a fun diversion, right?
I felt much the same way, until I visited NVIDIA's gaming suite and found out that, buried among all the Freestyle filter customization tweaks, the company has included three different kinds of colorblind mode options. For the eight percent of the male population that suffers from some form of color blindness, this is a huge deal.
Driver-level colorblind accessibility modes
I'm not colorblind myself, so can't personally attest to the difference NVIDIA's colorblind options make, but according to the company rep showing off the new feature they've had some huge reactions from colorblind gamers both inside and outside the company who have had a chance to see a demo. To my eyes it just looked like a slight color tint of particular shades in the game, but for someone who is actually colorblind it could make all the difference in the world.
Colorblind accessibility modes are often overlooked in games, and the resulting lack of visual clarity can range from an annoyance to making a game completely unplayable. While big developers, especially in the AAA shooter arena, are getting better at making considerations for the colorblind, it's often a feature that smaller development teams overlook entirely (or decide they just don't have the resources to address). If NVIDIA is able to add colorblind accessibility options in a simple and effective way at the driver level, the days of frustrated colorblind gamers could soon be coming to an end. Talk about technology that actually makes people's lives better!
NVIDIA says that if game developers don't want Freestyle filters enabled in their games they can let the company know and they'll be removed from the compatability whitelist (which is at just over a hundred games now but should climb rapidly). Knowing that Freestyle supports these colorblind options, though, it might not be a great PR move for developers to ask for this feature to be turned off in their games.
Check out video of the Freestyle colorblind filters in action below, and keep both your eyes on our CES page.