We can apparently never have too many game streaming services, because the list of companies rolling out their own has been ever-growing recently. Google Stadia will soon roll out to its early access players, and Microsoft’s Project xCloud is also on the horizon. Electronic Arts is getting in on the fun with its own service, currently called Project Atlas, which it is billing as an “easy to use, one-stop experience” for your video games.
The service was officially announced back in late 2018, and recent developments suggest it could be releasing sooner rather than later. Here is everything we know about EA’s Project Atlas so far.
What is Project Atlas?
Project Atlas is a game-streaming service created by EA to merge the company’s Frostbite engine, as well as artificial intelligence developments, into one platform. It will combine hosting, marketplace, social functionality, achievements, and more features into one service.
Much like with Google Stadia and Project xCloud, the computing tasks necessary to run your favorite games will be done on remote servers, giving you the ability to play them on less-powerful devices without sacrificing performance or visual quality.
Electronic Arts said that it will be able to make revolutionary breakthroughs in game creation by harnessing the power of the cloud, including lifelike destruction, years-long games with thousands of players, and easier methods for modifying existing games through user-created content.
The company’s foray into cloud gaming technology went deeper back in early 2018, when it acquired the technology and employees of GameFly’s cloud gaming division. GameFly had already been using this technology for its own service, but ceased operating it roughly around the time the acquisition was announced.
Project Atlas will support cross-play across several different devices, including mobile phones, tablets, laptops, traditional gaming PCs, televisions, and streaming devices. Progression will be saved across all of these devices, so you can begin playing on one and pick up where you left off on the next. Whether this will be as seamless as it is on Google Stadia and Project xCloud remains to be seen.
What games will it have?
Unlike Microsoft and Google, which both have the benefit of third-party partners, Electronic Arts will likely focus on its own releases with Project Atlas. This means series such as Madden, NHL, FIFA, Mass Effect, Battlefield, Titanfall, Star Wars: Battlefront, Plants vs. Zombies, and Need for Speed.
However, EA’s vault-based subscription service Origin Access currently offers several games from other publishers, as well, including the Batman: Arkham series, so there is a possibility of Project Atlas following suit.
Because Project Atlas could be the only gaming platform available to some players, we anticipate all of EA’s new games to release on it at the same time as they do other platforms. This could include the full games rather than trial versions, but this is dependent on the pricing structure for the service.
EA’s game library seems like the ideal fit for this, because of the number of yearly sports franchises it includes. Being able to upgrade to the next year of Madden or FIFA without an additional purchase, and play it anywhere, could make Project Atlas attractive to dedicated players.
Google Stadia is currently the only game-streaming platform that has outlined its pricing model, which will give players a choice between buying games piecemeal or paying a monthly free for access to a vault of games.
This structure could be used by Project Atlas, but EA already has a pricing structure for Origin Access Premier that is subscription-based. Under this system, $15 per month gives members full access to EA games before they’re available to anyone else, and implementing a similar model for Project Atlas seems like the logical move.
Because of the cost of the servers, however, it will likely be more than the price of Origin Access Premier.
Technical test and release date
Though the specifics on Project Atlas are being kept under wraps for now, a select group of interested players are being given the chance to experience it ahead of time as part of a closed technical test. The initial test will be focused entirely on PC, but performance is being test internally on more devices. You can sign up for a chance to be included in the Cloud Gaming Technical Trial by signing up on EA’s website.
The test will be using the “public cloud” as well as Amazon Web Services servers, rather than the proprietary servers used by both Google and Microsoft for their streaming services. Four games are available during the test:
- FIFA 19
- Titanfall 2
- Need for Speed Rivals
As for the release date? That’s not known yet. Its current state of development suggests a 2020 release seems likely, but Electronic Arts has not announced an official release date, or even a release window.
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