While the gaming world focuses on Google Stadia’s rocky launch, EA is plugging away at its own cloud-based streaming service, Project Atlas, which similarly will allow people to play EA titles anywhere, on any device.
Chief Technology Officer Ken Moss is bullish on the potential of cloud-based gaming services and artificial intelligence, telling Gamesindustry.biz, “I’ve seen it transform so many things and the opportunity in games is incredibly exciting and not really achieved yet.I truly believe that these forces—cloud and AI—will change just about everything in games.”
Moss is extremely confident about how he expects cloud gaming to impact the size of the gaming market, predicting that streaming services will open the ability to play games to another 1 billion potential customers. “How cloud gaming evolves is uncertain right now, but it’s going to bring in another billion players into the gaming world,” he said. “We say we’re at 2.6 billion or so right now. We want to make sure we’re at the forefront, but also get the early learnings, so we know how to change how we build our games in that world.”
Moss also said he doesn’t see EA’s entry into the cloud-based service market as really being about competition. For instance, the company recently used Microsoft’s XO19 event to confirm that more EA titles would be coming to xCloud, Microsoft’s upcoming streaming service, which may eventually become a direct competitor. “Our partnership with Microsoft is a big deal,” he said. “We’re really excited that they are believers in cloud gaming, and that they’re pushing hard.”
EA has spent the last number of years focusing on its Origin launcher and digital storefront service, but the recent return of its titles to Steam indicates a shift, or perhaps a reaction, in how the gaming market is developing and changing, and how it could continue to change in the future. “We’ve seen in other forms of entertainment that cloud streaming has been most effective when partnered with the subscription model,” Moss said. “When those two come together is when the magic happens in other forms of entertainment.”
As for when, exactly, Moss thinks cloud streaming could be truly viable? “It’s going to be a five- or 10-year journey for us, but I say that confidently,” he said. “I don’t even think that’s a bold prediction.”