Frostbite Engine Prepares EA For A World Where Many Devices Play Games, Says EA CEO
EA’s ace in the hole.
EA have adopted a truly remarkable multiplatform strategy, where they are there to support just about any and every platform with long term prospects. At this point, you can get EA games on Xbox, PlayStation, PC, smartphones, tablets, and VR- a truly wide range of devices.
In an interview with The Verge, EA CEO Andrew Wilson spoke about the company’s multiplatform strategy, noting that preparing for a future where games will span across multiple devices, and the role that Frostbite Engine is playing in preparing the company for that eventuality.
“What we’re trying to do is prepare the company for a world where truly there are more devices capable of playing games, and players are refreshing them more often and likely refreshing them asynchronously,” he said. “You might refresh your mobile device at a different time than I do. You might buy the 8K, I might stick with a 4K. You might go down the Oculus VR route, I might go down the PSVR route. What I’ve got to do as a creator is try and keep you together with your friends inside experiences that you love, and the only way we can do that is at a core engine level.
“We talk a lot about our single engine in Frostbite. It will scale up graphics on a bigger device and scale them down on a smaller device, so that we can build once and publish to many devices. It’s a world where we’re no longer having to make a decision like, “Do we build for the Xbox or the PlayStation or both?” There’s literally 30 or 40 or 50 different devices, and we have to be able to build for all devices that are meaningful for players.
“We’ve been investing heavily on that front for the last four or five years. And we think now, by virtue of that transition, we get more games on the PS4 and Xbox One than any other publisher. You see us now starting to really grow our mobile install base. You see us get to the PSVR and Google VR in the same time frame. That’s the only path forward for us. In a world in which we have to build incrementally for every device, forget the cost implications of that, we literally just couldn’t do it from a person power point of view.”
He then discussed the future of games, where you can pick up and play the same game regardless of where you are, or what device you have. “As you think about us putting the entire experience into the cloud, what then happens is the nature of the experience isn’t governed by the platform that you choose to play on. The nature of the experience is governed purely by the screen size that you have access to, and the connected controller, and the amount of time you have to play,” he said.
“When you’re playing on a PlayStation 5 or 6 or whatever is available at that point, it’s going to look one way on your big-screen TV. When you’re looking at it through a mobile device, it’s going to look a different way. When you’re playing it on your internet-enabled fridge screen while you’re getting the eggs out in the morning, because you’re just doing a few quick trades for Madden Ultimate team, it’s going to take a different format.
“The most important thing is that none of that time is wasted. It’s not throwaway time. Everything accumulates to the value of who you are in that virtual world. That’s really our vision: to get to a point where we [don’t] discern for you where you should play or how you should play, only that every minute of play that you invest in the experiences that we create adds value to who you are in that virtual world. You’re not throwing things away from one device to another or one experience to another.
“That goes from device to device. It also goes from game to game, because again, we as human beings are the sum total of our experience. That’s what makes us who we are. That’s what gives us our character. We want to replicate that in the virtual space.”
This is, ultimately, in line with the vision that both Nintendo with the Switch and Microsoft with Xbox Anywhere are also pushing for- that no matter where you are, you are still playing the games you want to play. It is good to see EA pushing for this kind of a thing, too.