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News  10, Mar 2014

EA plans to venture into the virtual reality world

The company is focusing less on tech and more on how people consume and use the VR concept, says EA CEO Andrew Wilson

Image credit: Oculus

Because there’s always room for more people to play around with virtual reality, game publishing giant Electronic Arts (EA) will be jumping onto this immersion bandwagon.

EA CEO Andrew Wilson, during this year’s South By South West conference (SXSW for short), said that the company will be less focused on the technology of virtual reality, and more on the way people consume and use it. He said, “When we think about making games today, we think less about the technology or the means of experiencing the game, and we think more about the modality of play.” He added that people interact with games in three ways: leaning back, leaning in, and looking over.

“There’s the ‘lean back’ modality, which is, I’m sitting in my living room across from an 80-inch TV, 7.1 surround sound, and I want high-def, high fidelity, highly immersive entertainment. The second is the ‘lean in’ modality; that’s kind of the PC type, where you have a lot of drive for shooters, RPGs and RTS-type games. Irrespective of what computer is driving it, there’s this proximity you have to the experience and that’s the style you want to play,” explained Wilson.

Read Also: Oculus VR to halt development kit sales temporarily

“The third is the ‘lean over’ mobile modality, whether it’s a phone or a tablet, with this idea of ‘I’m here and I’m playing like this’,” Wilson said, showing how players looms over their smartphone. Because of VR technology and Oculus Rift technology, he added that there will be a fourth modality: ‘getting in’. This could happen either with a headset (again, like the Oculus Rift) or with a hologram popping up in your living room.

Right now, he’s assigning a specific team to explore possibilities, though the company has yet to announce which technology partner will team up with it. “Let’s start thinking now about the experiences,” said Wilson, “So that we can deliver experiences that make sense for you; experiences that deliver on the promise and the fantasy of being inside a video game.”

The prospects of EA jumping onto this is both, exciting and scary. The former because the company is known to push things for the mainstream crowd; the latter because of what it’s done to its previous venture: mobile gaming. Anyone who has played Dungeon Keeper, The Sims and Tetris on mobile can attest to how it pushes microtransaction into levels of absurd greed.

Jonathan Toyad

Jonathan Toyad

If you want an elaborate answer on who would win in a fight between Ultraman and Godzilla, Jonathan Toyad is your man. A six-year veteran in the game journalism industry, he did words and videos for outlets such as GameSpot, GameAxis, IGN and Stuff.TV. Fears coyotes and scorched earths.

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