EA discusses plans for next-gen gaming in recent conference
EA has recently held an investors conference focusing on next-gen consoles, revealing a number of exciting highlights such as new IP's, game teases, financial information, statistics, and other interesting highlights that add to the anticipation of next-gen gaming.
EA's absence at Sony's PS4 event was noted to the dismay of many gamers who were interested in what the publisher had planned for the PlayStation 4, such as new games or at least a speech or two.
As for not attending Sony's PS4 event, EA says that “not being at PS Meeting was not indicative at all," and that they are "maintaining a balance between other parties".
EA has recently made up for their absence with a separate conference of their own, and although it was attended mainly by investors, the meeting touched upon exciting updates like EA's ability to transcend 1080p and 60 frames-per-second for "unprecedented gameplay", or the tease of new IP's for Sony's next-gen system.
The statements below are quoted from EA’s CTO Rajat Taneja and Chief Financial Officer Blake Jorgensen, with additions for emphasis and clarity.
EA goes on to discuss the raw power of next-gen consoles:
“The PS4 and next Xbox are between 8 and 10 times [the power of previous gen consoles]“, and that they "no longer have to constrain our games with 1080p & 60FPS…[with next-gen consoles] there will be a level of gameplay that is unprecedented".
Concerning the progressive efficiency of next-gen consoles, EA discloses that the PS4 and Xbox 720 will allow much faster and expedient development: "What used to take us months in the past will now take days to do."
Additionally, EA mentions that they are working on new IP's for next-gen systems, however they remain tight-lipped with no specific details:
“[There are] new IPs that we are building for this [upcoming] console generation.”
They have also been developing games for next-gen consoles for over a year now–possibly a few sequels to best-selling franchises
During the meeting EA also discussed the possibility of Microsoft's new Xbox being released during the same timeframe as the PS4–holiday 2013–which they've assumed is true.
When it comes to next-gen game costs, EA says that prices have yet to be officially set:
"We haven’t set price, but you will probably see a similar trend [where prices go up $10, but then fall back down]".
This may be upsetting to many consumers, due to the higher cost of the consoles themselves–EA still affirms that this is hypothetical and that nothing is certain at this point.
Microtransactions will be utilized even more in the next-gen world, and EA is planning to include the "pay-to-win" model in its new games as well:
"We’re building into all our games the ability to pay for more, to unlock faster… trucks, levels, etc. microtransactions. Consumers love that.”
Furthermore, EA has recently told Venture Beat that they are working toward unifying a single identity for cross-platform integration, moving towards embracing all gamers across all platforms rather than isolating them in their respective systems: Xbox 360, PS3, PC, iOS, etc.
"Our strategic vision at EA is to create a single backend system so that we can truly embrace the secular trends in our industry that are creating massive growth for games. And we will be able to embrace all of the new business models that come with that."
This plan is a major investment from EA's chief executive John Riccitiello who aims to help the company bridge the gap from being a publisher to a multi-platform (consoles, pc, mobile) digital games company. Their vision is already in the works and is the culmination of 1500 engineers and more than 18 months of time.
EA's next-gen conference wasn't full of explosive reveals or in-game footage, as it was made primarily for investors and not consumers, however it does bring with it a closer look at what the developer slash publisher is planning for the future of gaming. As a well-known and successful name in the industry, EA has a stake in many popular, best-selling franchises, and it will be interesting to see what direction they are taken in with the PS4 and Xbox 720, and how it affects both the gaming world and the gamers themselves.
To listen to the conference be sure to check out the full webcast, and we'll have more information and coverage throughout the coming months when EA sheds more light on its upcoming games.