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EA's money man spills the beans on its next-gen plans
EA's money man spills the beans on its next-gen plans
February 12, 2013 | By Frank Cifaldi

February 12, 2013 | By Frank Cifaldi
Comments
    56 comments
More: Console/PC, Smartphone/Tablet, Business/Marketing



Electronic Arts' chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen returned to the company during an interesting transitional period this year, as CEO John Riccitiello's leaner, hits-focused company pares down on what's not working anymore (i.e. Facebook) and prepares for the costly transition to a new generation of dedicated game consoles.

We recently heard from Riccitiello, who said that the company is investing heavily in what it's calling "gen-four" consoles: the next systems from Sony and from Microsoft but not, in his estimation, Nintendo's Wii U.

On Tuesday it was Jorgensen's turn to speak up about EA's next-gen plans, during a question and answer session at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco.

Hinting at a potential holiday release for both consoles, Jorgensen outlined just how much his company is investing in upgrading its tech, did his best to explain why consumers will be making the transition (without, of course, giving away any secrets), and discussed how the cross-platform play that EA has been pushing with its FIFA series is probably going to be reflected in Sony's and Microsoft's console plans.

We've highlighted some key moments from his talk below.

The cost of a new console transition

"Historical transitions have been bumpy for a few reasons. One reason has been that a lot of the companies had too many titles. We had way too many titles in the last transition, and the more titles you have, the more expensive it is to convert them from one generation to the next.

"We're much more focused now. We've got a core group of ten-to-fifteen titles. We'll stage those in terms of the transition and manage those costs through that. Our goal is to keep the cost increase for R&D under $100 million. And some of that will be in this year, some of that in '14, and some in our fiscal year '15.

"I think the other issue in the past has been what happens to pricing with the existing consoles. And what we're trying to do is be receptive to where pricing ends up. We don't think it will be as dramatic. I think the benefit we have now is that we've got some very large franchises that are more tied to sports calendars, and won't be impacted by some of the pricing issues."

Why many of EA's customers won't upgrade right away

"The reality is, is that fiscal year 2014 will still be a fairly large gen-three if there's a console business that comes in at the tail end of the year, mainly because a lot of our titles are built around sports calendars. And so a FIFA, a Madden, an NCAA, an NHL title, all come out aligned with the sports calendar. And if a next-gen console doesn't come out until next Christmas, most people won't wait. They'll want to be involved in getting those titles early, because their friends are all playing those titles, and because they're being played on a current generation's consoles.

"An important thing to remember is that next-gen consoles will most likely not be backwards compatible… And if you [play] multiplayer on a game, you'll most likely not be able to play with someone on a different generation. And so if you're a FIFA player and, and the soccer season's starting in August, and all your friends are playing FIFA, you're going to want to be on the same box that they're on. So if they all go out and buy a gen-four box if it comes out at Christmas, then you'll most likely do it. If they all hold on and continue to play on third-generation, you'll probably not see that box purchase until after the soccer season's over.

"And I think that works for us positively in both ways. It helps us continue to sell gen-three products, and it will help us sell gen-four product as that cycle finally gets into place."

The next-gen version of Frostbite

"We've always been moving Battlefield well out on the specs because of the huge PC embedded base of that business. And so moving from gen-three to a gen-four is not a huge uptick in cost.

"The other key advantage for us is we've been building those types of titles on Frostbite, which is our proprietary engine. Moving Frostbite up to gen-four was a big task, but once you've done that, you now can do that across multiple titles as long as they're using the Frostbite engine.

"That's been going on over the last year. The early look on some of those products is spectacular. It will be interesting to see how it plays out as it ultimately gets finished."

Do people even want a new console?

"No one's really seen yet… I mean, we have internally, but no one externally has really seen what the look and feel will be like on the new consoles. So I'll reserve judgement other than to say that I think people are going to be pretty excited.

"I do think once again without describing the new consoles, you've got to assume they're going to be highly integrated into the living room and the house, and there will be a lot of capability for interaction. I think the console makers have seen what the typical gameplay is today. It's very different than five years ago, or ten years ago. It was typically single gameplay, not dual gameplay or multi game players. So there's going to be some connectivity potential around that to make the game much more exciting.

"I think as well you're going to see a lot more integration between tablets, phones, and the consoles over time. You're going to see people playing on glass at the same time they're playing on the console. And there's going to be some exciting innovations around that. And I think it's going to be an extension of moving from what's in the living room to what's outside the house. Even though it might not be playing on the console, it's connected to the console in some way.

"So today, for example, our FIFA Ultimate Team business is a great example of where the business can go. People are playing FIFA at night with their friends, connected in a multiplayer mode. They then, the next morning, are downloading scores onto their handheld device, as they may be on the bus to work or the subway or in the car. And then they're interacting with their friends and trading players during the day, and then at the end of the day they may be scheduling another game that they're going to play that night with their friends. And all along the way, we're either doing microtransactions or just simply staying connected to the customer, and that's a huge opportunity for extension beyond what was traditionally a [single-player] gameplay.

"So I think you're going to see more of that, and the new boxes will be much more tied to that capability. I remind people to look at whatever device they're using in the room right now, and I guarantee virtually none of those existed two years ago, let alone seven years ago. So you've got to imagine, seven years is a long time in technology. We're probably going to see a lot of exciting things when it comes to the new consoles."

The used games market (and whether it will exist in gen-four)

"It's one of these classic double-edged swords. In one way the used game business has been critical for the health of the retail channel, and having a healthy retail channel is an important thing for us. The business will probably never be 100 percent digital. Bandwidths are a constraint, and will continue to be a constraint for many years to come, which hold back the ability to do full digital downloads of some games.

"So at the end of the day, it's storage capacity. Unless you've got a giant storage server in your house, keeping hundreds of games can tax your storage capacity. And so having a healthy retail channel out there like GameStop or Best Buy or others is important, and to the extent that used games is important to them, I think that's a positive.

"Would we like to sell everything at full price and not have a used game market? Sure. But I think the used game market's a little like any other kind of market where it creates liquidity. The fact is, that liquidity benefits us in some fashion. So if someone goes in and trades in a game, there's a good chance they're going to buy another one of our games. And so if there's a liquid market, I think that that's not a bad thing at all.

"I can't really comment on where the next generation boxes are going to be relative to used games. I will say that the trend in the business is to have that always-on connectivity and connect with a customer, and to the extent that the software identifies a certain customer is going to create some issues going down the road in the used game market. But I do believe that the consumer likes it, and it's been good for the retail channel."


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Comments


Thom Q
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So basically, they're just planning on doing titles like FIFA, with an app for mobile... Wow..

It's fun to see all industry big-wigs complaining about the market these days, while they are the ones actively destroying it. Is anyone up for a game of Aliens Colonial Marines? I didn't think so..

The whole IP idea will be the death of the current market. Let's hope it won't take to long to die so we can enjoy games and working on them, once again..

Alan Rimkeit
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FIFA is massive ever where but America. It is real Football. Why in the world would they stop making the biggest sports game on Earth? People love the micro-transactions and buying all the team players. It is an addiction and they LOVE it. In fact, people around the world would freak if they stopped making FIFA.

You can hate on it you want, but the sales proves that people love FIFA.

Johnathon Swift
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Most industry bigwigs don't complain. Square Enix, Activision, Ubisoft, Take Two, Capcom, Bethesda. Those guys are doing well enough, and they're not complaining. But when it's EA that's doing bad, suddenly "it's the markets fault". You know the "market".

Yes, surely that's what's wrong.

Ramin Shokrizade
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Those companies that are able to understand the new gaming business environment, and here I mean FTP in particular, are going to prosper. Those that do not understand the current business environment will be punished by market forces. Throwing a lot of money at Facebook (billions in this case) without understanding that environment does not improve your odds of success. It only improves your odds of losing $1B. I am not surprised they are going back to what they "know". Meanwhile gamers are largely moving on, so the market for the products EA hopes to sell is rapidly imploding.

TC Weidner
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I must be really old because I dont get all this integration stuff, I mean I dont need my toaster to download my flickr picts. I mean why cant products do one thing, and do it very well, why all this half ass crap? I agree with others here, suits (as usual) are going to screw this up majorly.

Is making a gaming system that plays kick ass games too much to ask? Stop with all this other nonsense.

warren blyth
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I think phones/tablets are more essential to the modern household than a game console (compared to the last console transition), so they deal with this problem by seeking to integrate these new phones and tablets.

but I don't think half-assed integration is the answer. The consoles need to offer unique experiences that put them back on top of the must-have list.
(and so far, i haven't heard of one. WiiU seeks to offer kick-ass console games on a tablet. but nobody is talking about it like that.).

Just don't think there's a way to make a new gaming console more attractive than these new personal assistant devices that go with you anywhere in your house and on trips.

GameViewPoint Developer
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@Warren "WiiU seeks to offer kick-ass console games on a tablet. but nobody is talking about it like that"

Exactly, because people don't see it as a tablet they see it as a console controller with a big screen built in.

Patrick Khuu
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@GameViewPoint Developer

I must say, initially, my prejudgement of the Wii U was that it was potentially a tablet/console gimmick. However, now that I've had some hands-on time and gameplay experience with Nintendo's new console, I admit I certainly underestimated it. I truly believe I did not give it the credit it was due. There are so many possibilities as to where developers can take it. I look forward to seeing what talented, creative minds will be creating for it next. Unfortunately, you are right, many people do not see it as a tablet or even its potential. When not using the Wii U with the television though, to me, it's more like a "Super Game Boy" than a tablet. Just my two cents.

Sean Kiley
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*slow claps*

Beyond Good and Evil
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Great points kiddies - so instead of just casting aspersions on what is inevitably a large and slow moving target - much like intellectual wiffle ball - why don't you jump onto the big boys field and weigh in on what the next generation of game designs and platforms and how they should all be integrated will look like - lord knows I'm dying to know how you've solved the riddle so we 40 year old game execs can get on with building your dream products...with microtransactions.

Thom Q
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If you think the reason the whole market is collapsing isn't (at least partly) the endless stream of franchised IP games or IP wannabe's, that all look and feel the same, are completely derivative, overpriced and angering a boat load of customers, and de-incentivising the rest, I'd like to hear your take on it.

And having some stats on your phone isn't revolutionary "4th-gen" technology, come on..

GameViewPoint Developer
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What you say the market is collapsing what market are you referring to? mobile gaming shows no slowing down.

Bob Johnson
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I also feel the tie in to mobile apps will fail. They can barely make an acceptable game as it is. Now they want to include more useless mediocre crap?

EA should learn from its mistakes. They have spent too much time lately chasing trends and fads. yet here they are talking about chasing the mobile app trend.

Beyond Good and Evil
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Still the same, time worn, "you guys are so out of touch - all these ideas are such tired BS etc.etc." ad nauseum - EVERYWHERE.

I'll say it again - critique is the refuge of those who generally do not DO. So step up - here's your forum, throw out some ideas of what to do in this new and uncertain market of games. You never know, if you have good ideas, some of us might actually pay attention. You can be sure if all that happens is more whining and finger pointing - we won't.

[User Banned]
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Jay Anne
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@Beyond Good and Evil
To be fair, you should probably not expect to get visionary insights from the comments section on an Internet website. Especially if one of the main problems is the internal culture of the big companies that need to change in the face of shifting business models. What has been strange is that many of the huge successes of the last five years have come from small oddities like a Warcraft 3 mod, a Chinese game called Happy Farm, a nerdy smartphone version of Scrabble, a clone of Infiniminer, a castle defense Flash game, a tank multiplayer game. It is unclear how these products would have ever started and gotten the required nurturing at a large public company.

Michael Thornberg
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Greed! That is the problem in the industry. Not that it would be out of touch, because it is not. But mammon rules the industry today, and the games suffer for it.

John Gordon
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There is a reason why AAA games seem to spit out the same derivative stuff and that is because the costs are too high to take a risk. This is very similar to Hollywood. The cliche with Hollywood is that there is no original ideas there and that is for the most part true. The most original stories in Hollywood end up being taken from a popular novel, play, comic book, etc.... That's because these other media do not have the costs that a Hollywood picture does.

AAA games need something similar. They should look at hot games that have been successful in spite of having low costs and make a similar AAA game. For example Minecraft is a great game, so a AAA studio could take the basic concept and add more content, features, improve graphics, improve multiplayer, etc.... There is a lot to work with using that concept.

In general AAA game studios would be well served by making experimental lower budget games and seeing which ones take off. If a low budget game is successful, then its successor or "spiritual successor" would get a much bigger budget.

[User Banned]
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Jay Anne
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@John Gordon
While I would like to agree, it seems to be difficult to make smaller versions of AAA at lower cost in order to create viable products. The movie analogy is difficult because each of those other media are unique sustainable industries unto themselves. There isn't a good middle ground where people buy enough cheaper versions of AAA games to justify much of a business.

There are some examples of this happening, but they are generally flawed in some way. Gameloft takes their mobile hits and grows them into progressively larger games. I don't think anyone sees those games as shining beacons of franchises though. And mobile games don't usually translate well to console games and vice versa. Undead Labs planned to leverage its XBLA game into an MMO, except their XBLA game is proving to be difficult to release. It's actually been in development almost as long as some actual MMOs. The example of Portal becoming Portal 2 is a perfect one, but nobody else has replicated it (even Valve)

John Gordon
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@Jay Anne

You're right that not every game on a lower budget platform can graduate to AAA, but then again not every play or comic book can be made into a Hollywood movie. However, if the novel, comic book and play industries died, then Hollywood would soon follow, because that is where it looks to get new content.

There are a lot of places where "smaller" games can get their start. If you consider Sony/Microsoft consoles to be the most costly, then other options include
Nintendo's console
Steam (or other PC platforms)
Handhelds
XBLN/PSN/WiiWare
Smartphone/Tablets
Flash games

Each of these is like it's own little industry. There are probably a lot of games (even really successful ones) that could never be "upgraded" to AAA. I doubt I'll ever see a Bejeweled game with a $20 million+ budget. But there are other games, like Minecraft, that have a lot of untapped potential. The market is already responding in a huge way to the low budget version. It stands to reason that the market would respond to a higher budget version (assuming the game was well made of course).

So these other gaming markets could possibly feed the AAA market, especially if it was intentionally cultivated. AAA will eventually die if it doesn't get new content and new types of games. It needs a viable way to get new games while mitigating the risk.

Jay Anne
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@John Gordon
Good point. I do think it's easier for stories, where the spine of a good story has a much higher chance of having the same foundation across a comic, novel, play, or TV show. The qualities that make for a good Flash game or mobile game are really unlikely to translate well to a $60 product, so it'd likely be a conceptual translation. Yea, XBLA/PSN, WiiU games do stand a greater chance, though it is probably a struggle just to find baseline success on those platforms, much less become a breakout hit that transcends the platform. Maybe Steam is our last best hope for fresh IP incubation

Ethan B
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@John Gordon & Jay Anne

Moving smaller games to AAA titles is probably the biggest shift I want to see in the gaming industry. Minecraft is a good example, but there are so many more. Take Dota for example, with Dota 2 and LoL you took a mod and turned it into several AAA titles and its own genre.

I think both of those highlight another important point. At least from my perspective the most successful games are repeatable experiences with lots of variation between plays. Multiplayer has become a big thing, but take a look at something like FTL, Civ or Xcom. Even single player games can benefit from replayability. Heck, if you want mobile gaming throw something I can play in short bursts over and over.

You don't even have to make something giant either. Instead of spending a year and several million dollars on the 5th version of a popular IP take a year off and release 3-4 smaller exploratory games. You don't have to make a full fledged AAA title to experiment with something, think of it as R&D. Especially with companies like EA who have a good base to fall back on I want to see more experimentation. Don't let additional features on major IPs be the only time you try anything 'new'.

I guess my point is that I can see plenty of ways for the industry to expand in a meaningful way, and it frustrates me to hear them stick to the same old spiel.

GameViewPoint Developer
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They all see the games that are made for a fraction of the cost of traditional console games but yet are making a small fortune and they all want a piece of that pie.

Beyond Good and Evil
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And they are equally cognizant of the complexity and subtlety involved in delivering successful free to play and mobile experiences in a highly competitive market filled with a fickle consumer base soaked in choice.

The main issue, currently, is that there are no "sure fire" bets or easy answers - we are in a huge transition, writ large and most are having trouble getting a handle on the new reality.

GameViewPoint Developer
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@Beyond,

Exactly, the truth is hardware doesn't really matter anymore, I think that's something that nobody fully realises yet. We have gone through the years of trying to get a 1000 sprites on the screen in 2D games, and fairly photorealistic graphics in 3D games, and now even that's possible on tiny mobile devices.

So we are moving from a time of when we would think about hardware and what it can do, to a time when we simply thinking about software, and whether we want to give our time to it or not.

TC Weidner
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hardware doesnt matter anymore? oh my god. Are you kidding me? We still have a long long long way to go with regard to hardware, gaming is still in its infancy. What will save the consoles IS THE HARDWARE, it must be powerful enough to give us a gaming experience unlike what we have experienced before. This is what drives every generation of consoles.

[User Banned]
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Ron Dippold
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'next-gen consoles will most likely not be backwards compatible'

Well, we weren't really expecting it, but this pretty much seals it. I think that's about as explicit as you get under NDA.

Frank Cifaldi
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Read this in context, my impression is that he's talking about multiplayer only, as in 360 players can't play FIFA against Durango players.

A W
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But I can play Monster Hunter Tri online on my Wii U with people online on the Wii. So is he saying that people with copies of old Madden playing on Durango can't play online with people with the same game on a 360?

Duvelle Jones
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Well, for a few months now... both what-ever-becomes-the-PS4 and "Project Durango" have been detailing a shift at the architectural level. Both towards x86...
That is going to be a bit of a change, especially for Sony.... I am not sure that simple emulation will cover all the issues with BC here.

A W
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Why does this news make me feel like I'm a junkie just waiting to be hooked on medioce gaming ideas.

John Flush
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Bonus points to anyone that can name EA's 10-15 titles that are 'core' in their plan. In no particular order:
1) FIFA
2) NHL
3) Tiger Woods
4) Madden
5) NCAA
6) Battlefield
7) Need for Speed
8) Dead Space
9) Mass Effect
10) Dragon Age
...
So other than graphics, does any of those games need a next gen update? iPhone support? tablet integration? This is why I'm bored of the industry right now. Every 'big' idea just seems so pointless and takes gaming no where, while adding more hoops to jump through.

Arseniy Shved
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You missed out Crysis and Sims.

Alan Rimkeit
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Number 3 is the Sims 3. Madden is number 2.

John Flush
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Both PC titles / franchises and have little relevance on '4th gen'. I almost included them because they now have ports of such to consoles.

Geoff Yates
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Interesting his view on the 2nd hand market. Would have thought they may have been a bit more pro non used games but there you go. Liquidity what a wonderful word.

Chances are they may not but one of your games because EB will have another 2nd hand game to sell them at just below retail so they get nothing.

Makes me wonder these sorts of companies usually have lots of statistics maybe they know something we don't.

Chad Gonzales
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I imagine it is a little different for EA than most other companies because most of their titles are sports games so there's a new iteration every year. If you want to be playing with your friends you have to have the latest game (like CoD). Also trade in values on these games usually go down pretty quickly.
A game like Uncharted or God of War is hurt a lot more by used games. Once you beat them, there's little incentive to keep it so used copies accumulate quickly. That's why they're pushing mulitplayer so hard in the new God of War: Ascension.

Jorge Molinari
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I fail to see what EA’s CFO said in the conference that would get so many panties in bunch. I’m even more amazed at the jabs taken here at mobile integration. EVERY video game could use smartphone/tablet integration. The FIFA example is excellent; if you don’t think that adds to the experience, then I don’t know what to tell you. How about reading the books you’ve collected in-game in Skyrim at your leisure on your mobile device, and having them being marked as read in the game. Using your device to read the quest journal, going into the world map, and setting up a route of waypoints to optimize quest completion when you finally get to play. Building your home and arranging your furniture on your tablet and then seeing everything updated in-game when you get home. Inventory management, crafting potions, smithing weapons, selling loot, buying goods, equipping new armor. All of this can be done simply from a mobile device. (But I would put in a requirement that the last savegame occurred in a town to enable most of these activities to be done on a mobile device).

In Battlefield, how about using your mobile device to read all the descriptions of weapons and upgrades you’ve unlocked, and equipping your soldier and vehicles, selecting your game type/map, or a server. When you boot up the game at home, it automatically takes you your game with your soldier and vehicles equipped according to how you set it up on your phone. Reading all the info and solving the puzzles you’ve encountered in Assassin’s Creed? Studying the portion of the universe you’ve discovered in Mass Effect? Studying the minimaps of the levels you’ve completed to see if you missed anything? How about having access to the entire HQ phase of your XCOM:EU game at your lunch break?

Can you spot the pattern? It should be screaming at you by now. If not here it is:

EVERYTHING that requires menus and is done outside the game engine can, and should, be accessible on a mobile device connected to a game server.

It really is that simple. This engages the players even when they are not “playing”, and makes the most of the time they can afford to spend sitting in front of their console/PC. As a busy parent with extremely limited time to spend in front of my console, having this type of integration would be priceless. I know I’m not alone in this. This type of integration would help the AAA games take back some of the ground lost to mobile shovelware; I’m sure a good chunk of gamers would rather spend their mobile time planning and setting up a future AAA session rather than playing a crappy mobile game.

As for mobile integration of simple games with no significant menus or complexity? Well think back to 25 years ago when games with simple sprites had good manuals with a decent amount of pages devoted to the backstory and game setting. Well we could have that again, but this time the game manual could be interactive and have animations. I’m going stop now because I just had an idea that is sufficiently good to not disclose (plus this turned out to be a very lengthy post anyway).

Peter Eisenmann
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These are actually great ideas, I only see one problem:
If you have part of the game on your mobile device, you'll sooner or later want the whole game on it. Why wait to get home to try out the new equipment I put on my soldier, if I could do it on the fly, with slightly less fancy graphics (and probably slightly worse controls)?
But then, I don't need a new console or a 60$ game if I have dozens of alternatives on the mobile market.

Alan Boody
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I understand what you're saying, Jorge, but what is this going to cost gamers? We've already seen how big companies are going the 'nickle'n dime' route in everything. Heck, EA has turned a survival-horror game into a microtransaction game. I'm just afraid that EA is using the whole 'mobile connectivity in next-gen consoles' as a way to implement more microtransactions. This nickle'n dime crap is going to kill the gaming industry.

You have to wonder how EA takes it when a game like Minecraft can bring in millions of players and sell millions of copies despite costing next to nothing while EA's games cost 10's of millions. Big difference between EA and Mojang: Notch is a game creator and EA is a product pusher. EA's solution to game creation is chase the latest fad then throw money at it.

[User Banned]
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A W
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You got a pretty big imagination there. I assure you though that all this integration is really going to lead to is market place apps used to sell end users useless DLC content. That will be the real innovation right there.

John Flush
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You mean like a 'manual'? I wouldn't mind them actually producing one of those again. Digital form is nice too. I just don't see any reason that has to be an app or anything like that - or even integrated into the game. I guess it helps a little bit to keep you on the same page as where you are in the game.

I do like your idea of integration more than was I saw with Mass Effect and such, which was another garbage tie in to make me waste time in the ME universe to try and get the ending I wanted.

Shea Rutsatz
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For me, mobile integration really feels unnecessary and gimmicky, but to each their own.

I don't think it should be off the table (because obviously there are people who like the idea) but really, I'm not going to run a game and have a tablet going at the same time, and I can't see people reading Skyrim books or being terribly interested in seeing game stats on the go.

I think there is potential for something really cool, but it seems like a slap on gimmick from what I've seen so far.

Michael Pianta
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I don't find smart phone integration all that interesting. In fact, I don't care about it at all and I almost certainly will not use that feature. I'm beginning to seriously wonder what these new systems are going to offer me. I've had every major console since the NES but I may pass on the PS4/720, or at least wait for them to substantially drop in price (I HAVE done that before) because I'm not sure that they are going to offer me anything that I care about. Is this the end of the traditional game console?

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Jay Anne
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They will offer the same thing past consoles did. A game you want to play that you cannot get anywhere else.

Bob Johnson
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@ Dave

They are Wii-proofing themselves.

Worst case they can put Smartglass on the back of the box and steer consumers away from buying a Wii U. Whether the feature works well or not....who cares.

Jorge Molinari
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@ Peter
I’ll give you pass on “less fancy graphics”, but “probably slightly worse controls” is the mother of all understatements.

I can think of many reasons why development budget is better spent on mobile integration instead of a crappy mobile port:

1. The graphics may run from slightly worse to a LOT worse.
2. The controls on your mobile device will be… how to put this delicately… shit.
3. Full AAA games would gobble your precious storage space in your device quicker than you can say “retina compatible”.
4. Playing AAA online would cost you an arm and a leg with current data plan pricing models. (Most of us don’t have data caps at home).
5. You look less geeky in public if you are simply reading and navigating menus vs. playing a dumbed down version of your game with an extra-crappy virtual controller.
6. Generally the world will interrupt you a lot more when you are outside and about, compared to while you are at home. So immersion will suffer a lot.
7. Speaking of immersion, how does a 4” to 9” screen with headphones compare to your living room TV and surround sound?

In the context of AAA games, mobile integration EXTENDS the game experience, while a mobile port DIMINISHES the game experience. That’s how I see it anyway. If I were a publisher I would spend my resources on the former. But I’m just a gamer so what do I know.

@Alan
I highly doubt these “companion apps” will be free. Developing them will cost a ton of money so what is the point of creating them if the game company will lose money on them? So yes, we would pay a few bucks more in addition to what we are accustomed to. In return, we will get more ways to connect with our games. You pay more to get more, seems fair to me.

@the rest
Intergration is not a “next gen” feature for sure; In fact all this could have been implemented 3 years ago. But if you don’t find value in this type of mobile integration, most likely you can afford to spend many hours of gaming per week. However many gamers don’t have that luxury and would like to make the most of their gaming time. In my case good mobile integration would be THE deciding factor from me when choosing between AAA titles.

A W
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The problem is not your vision, it's the assumption of how that vision will make things magically better for the gamer. Simply put if your not going to waste time being a geek and reading the lore in Skyrim from thr pause menu of the game itself, whats going to make you look better reading it from a nickel and dime Windows phone app?

Jannis Froese
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"The business will probably never be 100 percent digital. Bandwidths are a constraint, and will continue to be a constraint for many years to come, which hold back the ability to do full digital downloads of some games."

What? Steam works great, and uses the same internet connection that any console can use. Steam even works great for games that don't fit on a single DVD. I don't see his point, unless he sees Africa as the new market. Or are American internet connections so much worse than European ones?

Jay Anne
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There were already some ludicrous download sizes this generation and next gen game sizes are going up.

Jannis Froese
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14 Gb for Left4Dead 2 in Steam, needs two and a half hour to download for me, and that with a standard internet connection which 99% of core gamers should have in Germany. I don't see a problem with that.


Also "So at the end of the day, it's storage capacity. Unless you've got a giant storage server in your house, keeping hundreds of games can tax your storage capacity." reads like he never used Steam, I can just download whatever I need at the moment without needing to have every single game on my hard drive. Sure that's a small inconvenience compared to just inserting a DVD, but not a big one. Especially as storage becomes cheaper every day.

Anik Rabbani
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No offence to EA but most of the sports game that they release every year still has bugs other tech issues. Some of the same ones for over 5-6 years. This to me, is down right shameful.

I really hope they don't hold back with the polishing on next-gen titles.


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