While all eyes are on Sony for next weeks anticipated reveal of the PlayStation 4 and the start of the next-gen cycle, publishing giant EA has revealed a few details on what the company is expecting from the newest technology at the recent Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco (via Gamasutra
EA's chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen took to the stage to discuss just what the company is expecting from both Microsoft and Sony, including rising R&D costs, a potential holiday release and the notion that the next-gen consoles may not be backwards compatible. Jorgensen also touched on how the company is relying heavily on their next-gen Frostbite engine, stating that "moving Frostbite up to gen-four was a big task, but once you've done that, you now can do that across multiple titles as long as they're using the Frostbite engine," so expect a fair few of EA's titles to be using the Frostbite engine.
"An important thing to remember is that next-gen consoles will most likely not be backwards compatible… And if you [play] multiplayer on a game, you'll most likely not be able to play with someone on a different generation. And so if you're a FIFA player and, and the soccer season's starting in August, and all your friends are playing FIFA, you're going to want to be on the same box that they're on. So if they all go out and buy a gen-four box if it comes out at Christmas, then you'll most likely do it. If they all hold on and continue to play on third-generation, you'll probably not see that box purchase until after the soccer season's over.
Citing a rising cost in research and development, Jorgensen also revealed that EA plans to "keep the cost increase for R&D under $100 million. And some of that will be in this year, some of that in '14, and some in our fiscal year '15." The company will also be trying to ensure individual pricing isn't affected by the rising cost in R&D, stating that it won't be as dramatic as previous generations.
The EA CFO also revealed details about what to expect from the next-gen consoles, including a more integrated social aspect in how players game, with more focus on dual gameplay or multi gameplay. EA also expects more integration with what's in the living room to what's outside the house, between tablets, phones, and the consoles over time.
"So I think you're going to see more of that, and the new boxes will be much more tied to that capability. I remind people to look at whatever device they're using in the room right now, and I guarantee virtually none of those existed two years ago, let alone seven years ago. So you've got to imagine, seven years is a long time in technology. We're probably going to see a lot of exciting things when it comes to the new consoles."
Jorgensen also touched on used game sales, a very hot topic with previous rumours suggesting both Microsoft and Sony are looking into blocking second-hand purchases. The CFO revealed that while EA would like to have everything at full price and not have a used game market, the second-hand market does help them out with consumers having "a good chance they're going to buy another one of our games."
You can find the full highlights from the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference over at Gamasutra