As the game streaming wars heat up, EA ponders its position
In brief: When asked about EA’s game streaming ambitions, EA executive Mike Blank responded with a noncommittal “maybe.” As the cloud gaming market is already becoming saturated, EA would have to build a service that is compelling enough to stand out among the crowd — or sit on the sidelines and watch Google and Microsoft gobble up the market.
Electronic Arts, the founder of “surprise mechanics,” is reportedly mulling its position on entering the cloud gaming arena. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Mike Blank, VP and general manager of EA’s Origin, confirmed that the company could still join the fray.
“The new trend of subscription offerings in games is an innovation,” Blank told The Hollywood Reporter. “It might not seem like one because subscriptions have been around for a long time in other forms of media, but there’s something unique about games because they are highly immersive, have long life experiences and they’re highly social.”
Google and Microsoft are already arguably in the best position to offer game streaming, and both companies have services launching this fall. Additionally, other players like Amazon, and even Walmart, are rumored to be building out game streaming services. Apple already took the wraps off its Arcade service, and Nvidia has GeForce Now, although it’s still in beta.
Despite this, EA contends there’s still room for at least one more entrant. “We can, and we may still, offer our own,” Blank says. “That said, I think there is space in the market for multiple complementary and competing services that offer different kinds of experiences to different players.”
EA has continued to extend the reach of its own subscription service, EA Access, and has even brokered a deal with Sony for the service to land on PlayStation 4 this July. Blank signaled that by partnering with other gaming powers via EA Access, it could be the company’s secret sauce for a game streaming platform. “We need to be where the players are and not every player is going to be on every service or device, just like not every viewer is on Netflix,” Blank says.
The streaming wars are already fragmenting services and libraries on the video side. With Disney and Apple set to enter the market, and rumors of other players like AT&T, it’s no longer as simple as just Netflix and Hulu; users will have to be increasingly more selective. It would seem game streaming is destined for the same fate, albeit at a much accelerated pace.