Electronic Arts believes that the power of cloud gaming could open up the hobby to billions of new users, putting a bold exclamation mark on the gaming industry's hottest tech pursuit. EA isn't alone in this belief either with Google only just launching Stadia, albeit to troubling reviews. That initiative alone is enough to draw the interests of other longstanding industry giants like Microsoft and Sony, who have both been beefing up their respective services in the build to a formal launch of their own game streaming platforms.
In particular, Microsoft has been pushing cloud gaming through its xCloud service, issuing minor updates as the platform holder slowly begins rolling out. The latest news saw xCloud gain support for the DualShock 4, as well as a large number of games, get rolled into the service. Technically, this system is still in a preview build as Microsoft works to refine it, but the exclusive library of games that can be offered through Xbox is almost unrivalled as it currently stands. Still, this hasn't deterred others from throwing their hat in the ring.
Unsurprisingly, Electronic Arts is also making moves to develop its own streaming service, dubbed Project Atlas. The company has gone so far as to partner with Microsoft to build the platform and even launched a testing phase this past September that allows users to try out FIFA 19, Need for Speed Rivals, Titanfall 2, and Unravel. Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, Electronic Arts' CTO Ken Moss explained why his company is so high on the promise of cloud gaming.
"With streaming, our motivations are to be where the players are so that they can play our games wherever and however they want. Our actions are consistent with that. How cloud gaming evolves is uncertain right now, but it's going to bring in another billion players into the gaming world. We say we're at 2.6 billion or so right now. We want to make sure we're at the forefront, but also get the early learnings so we know how to change how we build our games in that world."
The logic is sound. Removing the cost of entry and putting the services on pre-owned devices (like mobile) immediately opens up game developers to new audiences. Better yet, it allows devs the freedom to more easily develop large-scale worlds that would otherwise require more powerful hardware to exist. With cloud gaming, these barriers are all removed, and the consumer stands to benefit as an end result.
Of course, this means that the future is now set to be a content war rather than one done with formal hardware. Microsoft, Sony, Google, Electronic Arts, and even Amazon are well into development on their game streaming platforms. It likely won't end there either, with Valve also rumored to be pursuing Cloud gaming and even more set to follow that. With all of this said, let the game streaming wars begin.