A Learning Journey: Announcing EA’s Cloud Gaming Technical Trial
Ken Moss, Chief Technology Officer at Electronic Arts
Cloud gaming. It seems like these days, it’s on everyone’s mind, with new possibilities, paths, and players emerging from all corners of the industry. The collective enthusiasm and attention in this space couldn’t be more exciting and we are looking forward to working with more partners and platforms! For EA, our continued focus will be on making sure our games will be ready for a cloud-powered future where our players can engage and enjoy anytime, anywhere, and on any device.
To that end, I’m excited to share that we’ll be taking an important step in this learning journey as we host an exclusive external trial for our players to experience games streamed through EA’s cloud technology.
Let’s actually take a step back to put this into some more context. Last year, I shared details about Project Atlas as our broader vision for bringing together game engine technology and services that can realize the full potential of the cloud. Cloud gaming is just one very specific part of that vision.
As our games will continue to be the creative heart of EA, we are focused on testing and understanding their performance in cloud gaming. So our goal with this exclusive trial is to gather more inputs at scale to test performance and quality of service in a variety of network conditions and on multiple server routing scenarios. While this particular trial will be focused on cloud gaming on PC, we are also working to understand performance across multiple other devices. Most importantly, we are here to learn how to improve and enhance the cloud gaming experience for our players.
What exactly are we testing?
First, we want to ensure that there is strong quality of service in cloud gaming by being able to adjust to real-world, often less than ideal, conditions such as unstable bandwidth and network strength. Over the last decade, latency and jitter have made cloud gaming a non-starter for any serious gamer. But now that the global cloud infrastructure is finally reaching ubiquity, EA is working on leveraging AWS and the public cloud so that we can deploy as close to the players as possible, even in the face of unstable networks and changes in bandwidth. This player test will help us to better understand how our games perform across real-life scenarios.
We’re also testing a wide breadth of games and genres to be able to better understand how the streaming technology performs across each. From the visual fidelity for games that are known for stunning graphics and demanding rendering, to the uncompromised precision and accuracy which are so critical to multiplayer FPS games — all of this must perform seamlessly. As part of the external trial, players will get hands-on with four HD games, including FIFA 19, Titanfall 2, Need for Speed Rivals, and Unravel.
And, one of the most exciting parts of cloud gaming will be the ability to deliver full-scale HD games to any device a player wants to use, such as a smart TV, OTT streaming devices, PC or Mac laptops, tablets, and smartphones. This means that you would be able to stream a Madden HD game directly to the smart TV in your living room, or even in a hotel room if you’re traveling. You could even also continue same session on the go, right on your smartphone.
Cloud gaming also has the potential to open even more doors around social interactions in games. As part of the trial, we’re testing the technical functionality of cross play that will allow players to play the games they love with others no matter where, or on what device, they have chosen to play — a major step toward cloud gaming finally uniting platforms in play. It will also allow for players to be able to save their progression on one platform and have that reflect in another. In fact during this trial, players in the cloud gaming trial can engage with the live PC environment on Origin. Players will also be able to test out their cross progression when they log in to PC after the conclusion of the trial. This is a very tangible connection between what is possible now and the future we aim to create.
Above all, our pursuit of cloud gaming is rooted in our games and our players. We’ve said all along that we want to be where our players are. We fully believe in more choices for our players, and connecting them to a world of play across more platforms and geographies. Just as subscriptions can be an incredibly strong proposition for players to access great content with minimal friction, when combined with cloud streaming we can make it even more compelling to jump into new games and connect with new communities. We want to make sure that our games are able to perform beautifully and seamlessly in any situation and on any platform.
And while cloud gaming is just one part of our broader vision for how cloud will shape the future of gaming, our belief remains strong that these continued investments in cloud, distributed computing, AI, social features, and engines will redefine the creation, distribution, and consumption of games. As we’re continuing to advance our work on building those components of the future, the cloud gaming technical trial is a milestone in our journey.
The bottom line is this. Cloud gaming is coming. It’s no longer a question of if, but when. It’s still really early days but we’re excited to take this next step in our learning, and it’s great to be able to do it with some of you in our community. This is about enhancing the quality of our games and services for a cloud powered future. So if there is an opportunity to elevate the experience and inspire more people to play, we are going to explore it.
Want to help us learn?
Click the link below and Join EA Community Playtesting for a chance to be included in the upcoming EA Cloud Gaming Technical Trial. https://go.ea.com/cpt