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Cloud Businesses The Almighty Buck Games

EA, Touting 'Profound Impact' of Streaming and Subscription, Announces Origin Access Premier (gamesindustry.biz) 73

EA CEO Andrew Wilson announced that the game publisher is making a big move into cloud gaming. The company is also planning to launch a new version of its Origin Access subscription service on PC called Origin Access Premiere that will introduce games like Madden, FIFA, and more the same day they launch at retail. From a report: During the publisher's E3 2018 press conference, CEO Andrew Wilson descried the combination of streaming and subscription as "the greatest disruption" to the world of entertainment of the past five years. He pointed to how this business model for movies, TV and books has changed those markets, and believes this combination will have "a profound impact" on the games industry in the years to come. Wilson's comments echoed those of his CFO Blake Jorgensen, who said back in November that a combination of live services, such as FIFA Ultimate Team, and subscriptions will lead to "uncapped" monetisation of its players over the longest possible period of time.

In its latest financials, EA revealed that 40% of its revenue last year came from live services, while full game downloads and physical game sales are dropping. Wilson reminded conference attendees of the publisher's recent acquisition of GameFly's Israel-based cloud gaming team, predicting a future where players can enjoy high-end games on any device anywhere with an internet connection. While there are tech demos for EA's streaming service out there, Wilson stressed that it's "not quite ready for full market primetime," but pitched it as a "promise of what we hope to bring you in the future." In the meantime, Electronic Arts took the opportunity to announce a new subscription system that shows the publisher continuing to push towards a service-based economy for video games. Origin Access Premier is a new addition to the firm's PC-based games service: a premium subscription that gives players access to even more titles.

EA, Touting 'Profound Impact' of Streaming and Subscription, Announces Origin Access Premier

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  • Yeah, nope (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Unknown User ( 4795349 ) on Sunday June 10, 2018 @02:02PM (#56760624)
    Latency, kids lack money, and gamers hate EA anyway. It's not gonna happen, at least not with EA at the forefront. Maybe Valve can do it, but not EA.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Cloud computing might be fine for games like Checkers or a turn based RPG, but not for anything real time, like racing sims.

      • by corezz ( 1603659 )
        You make it sound like that is going to stay that way for the rest of time. Ten years ago the average internet speed was 3Mbps today its over 20Mbps. Latency has also dropped in tandem.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          Latency is based on the speed of light, so yeah, pretty much till the end of time, or until we can figure out how to communicate through neutrinos which will mean we can send the signal through earth instead of around. Even then.

        • by Agripa ( 139780 )

          You make it sound like that is going to stay that way for the rest of time. Ten years ago the average internet speed was 3Mbps today its over 20Mbps. Latency has also dropped in tandem.

          If anything, latency has gotten worse. Some of this is due to higher speed encoding using interleaving for better burst error correction. ISPs consider this a big win because it allows much higher line speeds even if it comes at the expense of longer latency. Some of it just comes from poor network management with things like buffer bloat, ISP run transparent proxies, and ISP tunneling.

          The first DSL I had was 768/768 SDSL and that was the high point and a huge latency improvement over dial up or anything

    • EA is the McDonald's of gaming. Lots of customers who don't expect anything notable. So they'll make a ton of money while being roundly panned by critics.

      • Hey you, stop insulting McDonald's. Find a lower quality fast food chain to compare EA with.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by JustNiz ( 692889 )

          > Find a lower quality fast food chain to compare EA with.

          I don't think one exists.

          • You're really not trying hard enough if you can't find one.

            One particular fast-food chain with a box in its logo comes to mind.

    • Microsoft is helping. I do not have uplay or origins accounts. I've had a steam account for over 14 years and refuse to use a different platform mostly out of convenience but don't use it for online games.

      It is very clear they want that MMO money. I'm sure they're really shitty that Sony and Microsoft already have their own captive portals.

      • by Cederic ( 9623 )

        Thing is, if you're buying two new full price EA games a year then £90/year subscription for access to their whole catalogue is a decent deal.

        If it was available on Steam and not Origin then I might be tempted.

        The microtransactions would be the thing holding me back. I hate games being crippled to encourage microtransaction income.

    • by corezz ( 1603659 )

      Kids will always have money. When you watch Twitch you see an endless stream of teens and tweens forking out money to videogame streamers who are neither doing anything in their stream, nor acknowledging the free cash they go from this anonymous kid. And this kid is happy about it. These streamers are multi-millionaires from all this endless free cash from these kids.

      The hate for EA, like history has shown with human behavior, is that people will forget when they see the next announcement trailer for

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Sega Channel had no latency game streaming in the 90's.

      They did it by streaming you the whole ROM until you had the whole thing and then just play it like you own it.

      Of course the only online games were only available in Japan.

    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      Latency, kids lack money, and gamers hate EA anyway. It's not gonna happen, at least not with EA at the forefront. Maybe Valve can do it, but not EA.

      Yes, but as long as the latest Call of Repetition: Modern Snorefare, Battlefied: Pay to Win and Washed Up Sportsman 18 keeps selling, they'll stay in business.

      EA hasn't been in the business of making quality games for well over a decade. The people who pay £60 a year for FIFA wont care about latency... Hell I've played FIFA 17 on a PS4, it was already laggy as hell and loaded so slowly they had to have a minigame to prevent the players from finding something else to do. The shift to streamin

  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Sunday June 10, 2018 @02:03PM (#56760626)
    When Activision's CEO was pissed because gamers played thousands of hours of Call of Duty and only paid $60 bucks for the privilege. IIRC he stopped just short of calling them thieves. This is like that, only nicer. CEOs are angry they're not getting $60/mo from us to play games.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Video game companies are the equivalent of casinos. This isn't decades ago with the plucky company making a fun to play game for fun. A great deal of effort goes into making the grind, lengthening the grind, and monetizing the grind. Video games are the new slot machine.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Darinbob ( 1142669 )

        They're also extremely expensive to make. Customers demand the best graphics, full voice acting, more features than the previous games, and so forth. So with all that expense they feel that they must have a blockbuster hit in order to pay for it all (well, after saving money by working underpaid devs and artists to death). And like movie blockbusters, the plan is to never innovate or do anything different that might cause a drop in sales.

        So you can try to look at indie games to make up the difference. B

        • Jees, I've been gaming since Adam (Coleco) and I turn off advanced graphics, music, voice acting, and interstitials as much as possible. I'm not sure where you are getting your data, from rich kids, I guess. The problem with the industry is they think those things are more important than gameplay and reliability.

          • Well if you're still happy with Coleco level graphics, I guess those are valid things to turn off. I like a good game that's also amazing looking. Like Witcher 3.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          All of that is caused by the ridiculous IP BS that their parent industry pushed on the world.

          The cost of an engine is so high because there isn't really a good competitor to the proprietary engines. Most of the OSS engines were themselves proprietary prior to being open sourced and very few publishers are willing to allow a DRM-free release to be made for a new game. Which would be required if the engine used had an open source license on it, as the whole fucking point of DRM is to hide and obfuscate the DR

          • by Cederic ( 9623 )

            Your entire post is predicated on a very flawed assumption.

            The cost of an engine is so high

            You can download and use Unity for free, or pay $1500/year for a full licence. You can use the Unreal engine for free, earn $12k/year (per game) with no royalties then pay 5% on top of that. You can use the CryEngine for free, earn $5k/year royalty free then pay 5% on top of that. You can buy RPGMaker for $130 and pay no royalties on a game that sells over a million copies.

            The cost of an engine is not high.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          They're also extremely expensive to make. Customers demand the best graphics, full voice acting, more features than the previous games, and so forth. So with all that expense they feel that they must have a blockbuster hit in order to pay for it all (well, after saving money by working underpaid devs and artists to death).

          Even modest, niche indie games sell hundreds of thousands of copies today. 20 years ago a quarter million sales was a blockbuster. And now with no more need for physical media, physical ad campaigns, physical logistics, making your own engine from scratch, better dev and art tools, and many going with self-publishing, the overhead costs consuming revenue have been significantly reduced.

          Some types of games cost more to make today. All types of games sell more copies today. Many games make orders of magnitude

        • " Customers demand the best graphics, full voice acting, more features than the previous games, and so forth. "

          I think I would just settle for a fully finished, properly beta tested, bug-free experience without half the game being locked behind day one DLC.

        • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

          Customers demand the best graphics, full voice acting, more features than the previous games, and so forth.

          No they don't. It's very clear that Nintendo systems do not have the power to do any of this, Even the latest Nintendo system (Switch) is a higher end mobile system, processing power wise.

          What people want is fun. For a lot of people playing multiplayer FPS, fun comes in the form of well-balanced maps, weapons and scenarios, as well as careful network monitoring keeping cheaters at bay. For others, it'

  • by blahplusplus ( 757119 ) on Sunday June 10, 2018 @02:12PM (#56760662)

    ... of videogame software is almost complete, due to mass stupidity and technological illiteracy of the average gamer.

    • by Cederic ( 9623 )

      Yeah. If only there were somewhere you could buy a tremendous range of AAA, indie and other games at sensible prices.

      Somewhere like itch.io, gog.com, Steam or humblebundle.com

      Oh. Hang on.

      • Yeah. If only there were somewhere you could buy a tremendous range of AAA, indie and other games at sensible prices.

        Somewhere like itch.io, gog.com, Steam or humblebundle.com

        Oh. Hang on.

        No one cares about most indie shovelware. For most of gog.com's history they were a dumping ground for bad indie games and still are. Whoever is running gog is not serious about AAA. If I were gog I would be buying up old IP's like supreme commander, descent, freespace, etc and fully funding new AAA games. Most drm free games and indie games, let's be honest are low quality shovelware. Even the AA games coming out of kickstarter are little more than retreads of past games. Many developers from fan fu

  • by Anonymous Coward

    As a fan of the Ultima series, seeing the name Origin touted out like this... Origin was the name of the original company that made the Ultima games, which was sold to EA, after the game EA had a huge plot point involving the shapes of the EA logo being a sign of overwhelming oppression.

    Every company EA takes over seems to be pulled into doing basically the opposite of what they wanted to do for their customers before, before they are slowly crushed in ignominy.

    Seeing the name of Origin used for this online

  • I won't ever buy another EA game. BF1 was terrible, Battle Front 1 & 2 are terrible and they over charged for those terrible games. EA has turned to political correctness and the idealism of globalism. So long EA.
  • I am really glad I don't want to play any EA game, thus avoiding the need to install any of their software on my computer.

  • If people are steadily moving to mobile instead of console or PC gaming, then the average company can expect a slow decline in profits unless they make the games cheaper (more numbers by luring in poorer folks for less), more expensive (count on PC "whales" for profit with DLC on everything, probably the usual EA plan) or make them move to a mobile version of the same game with a combination of all of those icky tricks plus demanding root access on your smartphone.

    I don't know how streaming gaming can work

  • by SoftwareArtist ( 1472499 ) on Sunday June 10, 2018 @04:35PM (#56761204)

    a combination of live services, such as FIFA Ultimate Team, and subscriptions will lead to "uncapped" monetisation of its players over the longest possible period of time.

    At least he's being honest about what the point is. Companies like to pretend this will be good for gamers, but how many gamers are asking for it? Not a lot. The point is to "monetize players over the longest possible period of time". That is, get more money from you for playing the same games.

  • Stop it! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KreAture ( 105311 ) on Sunday June 10, 2018 @05:48PM (#56761578)
    I don't want a subscription to all your effing games.
    I don't want full catalog access.

    I want the single game I like and enjoy to actually work. And keep working.
    I want the game to be free of cheaters.
    I want the game to be available after "you" deem it time to kill servers and launch another shitty version with new bugs.

    Save BF1.

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