Whether you always want hardware or would rather stream forever, the debate around the looming death of consoles has been going on for years. Executive Vice President of Strategic Growth at EA Matt Bilbey sides with streaming. In a recent interview, he stated that he believes that game streaming will kill local gaming in the next decade.
Speaking with GamesIndustry.biz, Bilbey outlined his belief that as bandwidths increase over the next couple of years, game streaming will become more viable.
“I don’t think it’s a case of ‘Will it or won’t it?’ It will happen. It’s just [a question of] when,” he added during the interview.
EA is apparently directly working with companies to bring this streaming future to life. “We’re working with a lot of the companies who create the server infrastructure, and there are a lot of innovative solutions from a lot of big companies we’re working with that will actually allow us to bring this to life.” EA is also tracking player data in order to better understand gamers and how and why they play in order “to ensure they get the most value out of the game they’re playing.”
Along with this, EA is looking into the opportunities presented by Smart TVs and the possibility of putting Origin or their new Access Premier subscription service on those televisions. If that happens, and games can just be streamed directly to TVs, then traditional consoles will no longer be required. Bilbey suggests that in five years people will buy consoles “just out of retro [sentiment]”, but in 10 years, “they will be in one of the other devices you have.”
“The console makers are smart groups,” he said. “I think they’ll find new roles that consoles can play in people’s lives. And it could be that the console actually exists in the smart TV. Or the next PlayStation just exists on your phone, and that then pushes the experience to all the different screens you have access to.”
EA is apparently already discussing with their internal game development teams on how this streaming future will effect them and Bilbey is excited by the prospects.
“I think it will unlock a lot of creativity around smaller games, longer games, just being able to try new games that don’t have to be 90 percent Metacritic rated, built for four years and totally polished… I think that’s going to unlock a new energy within our industry that’s pretty motivating.”