It sounds like Electronic Arts is getting into the game-streaming market. Speaking at the UBS Global Technology Conference this week, EA CFO Blake Jorgensen said you can expect EA to launch its unannounced streaming service in the next 2-3 years. The company isn’t doing this alone, as it’s working alongside an unspecified partner.
“I think you’ll see a commercial offering probably in the next 2-3 years from us and a partner,” Jorgensen said.
Also during the call, Jorgensen said one of the issues that held back streaming in recent years was lack of widespread data centers. If you live in an area far away from a data center, that could make your streaming experience poor. But thanks to the efforts from Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Apple, there are more data centers online today and this is helping give EA confidence that the time is right for a streaming service.
He added that Microsoft has started to talk about its own Xbox game-streaming plans publicly, which could be a reference to Phil Spencer’s statement that the Xbox streaming service is coming in the next few years. Intriguingly, Spencer said the Xbox streaming service could launch by 2020, which matches up with Jorgensen’s prediction of when it would get involved, too. Microsoft and EA have worked together in the past on things like EA Access, but it remains to be seen if Microsoft is the unspecified partner that Jorgensen referenced in his comments this week.
There are still issues with streaming in general, Jorgensen said. He mentioned that while internet speeds are getting better in some places, that can’t be said for everywhere. Jorgensen also stressed that he doesn’t foresee streaming replacing console gaming anytime soon, if it ever does at all.
Earlier this year, EA management revealed that the company created a Battlefield streaming game demo alongside an internet company. You wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between it and a locally rendered game, EA said, according to GI.biz.
Sony already has a streaming service of its own, PlayStation Now, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see more companies like Microsoft and EA get involved in the space as well. With the rapid rise in digital gaming, a move to streaming could ultimately be more convenient for gamers, provided the online experience is robust enough.