Cloud gaming is still in its relative infancy, with services such as PlayStation Now and Google Stadia available and courting a relatively small group of players thus far. That could change, however, as Electronic Arts believes cloud gaming could open up video games to a massive new audience of players.
Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, EA Chief Technology Officer Ken Moss explained that he expects cloud gaming to add another 1 billion players onto the existing 2.6 billion in the world right now. This would mean nearly half of the planet would be playing video games of some sort, and Moss stressed that EA wasn’t viewing Microsoft’s xCloud service as a competitor to its own Project Atlas service. EA has a long history of supporting Microsoft in the past, with its EA Access subscription plan being exclusive to Xbox and PC for years before Sony eventually brought it to PlayStation 4 as well.
Project Atlas will be taking a slightly different approach to cloud game streaming than other platforms. EA is hoping to use it to blend the Frostbite engine and A.I. technology into one platform. The service is aiming to produce gaming experiences that are not possible on traditional platforms, including games with thousands of players, better destruction, and smoother integration of user-generated content. A technical test with older games such as Need for Speed Rivals and Titanfall 2 began earlier in autumn.
Those who subscribe to a cloud gaming service will not need to purchase an additional piece of hardware like they need today on traditional gaming platforms. Google Stadia and Microsoft’s Project xCloud are compatible with mobile phones and a wide variety of other devices, and Amazon’s rumored streaming service will presumably follow suit. These services can, however, result in a loss of game ownership as their servers eventually shutting down will also result in you losing access to the games you purchase.
Whether or not existing video game players will buy into that system remains to be seen. Still, Moss is likely correct in presuming that current non-gamers will be the biggest demographic for game streaming. After all, longtime players already have the hardware they need to run the games locally.
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