Technology

Sarconi: 5 takeaways from an interview with EA Sports’ Peter Moore

Peter Moore, the former executive vice president and current chief competition officer of Electronic Arts Inc., recently visited Syracuse University and discussed his role is leading the company’s new esports presence with the EA Competitive Gaming Division.

Here are five things I learned from my interview with Moore about the current and future state of the gaming industry.

Xbox One and PlayStation 4 may be the last generation of consoles

Similar to how it’s changed television and video media in general, streaming is likely going change the way people play games. Moore envisions a future in which there will be no game console. It seems that the only physical thing gamers will own is a monitor of some sort, a flash drive-like device and a controller.

“I’m not sure there will be consoles, as we know them anymore,” Moore said. “Games will be accessed by streaming technology, so we don’t need hardware intermediaries in between the two. If you and I want to play ‘Battlefield 12’ against each other, we’ll just jump into a game via whatever monitor we happen to have in our homes. It’ll be on a chip, rather than in a box.”

He added that the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are well set up to advance as technology does, so we may never see another console produced by Microsoft or Sony ever again.

Mobile gaming is already huge and it’s going to get bigger

If you hate all those commercials for app store games, you’re probably going to be disappointed. There are likely to be more of those in the future because mobile gaming isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it’s going to expand.

Moore talked at length about how Apple’s App store and Google Play are now a huge part of the gaming industry because the games that come out on Xbox or PlayStation also come out on these distribution platforms. While they are usually limited in terms of how long the user can play it or the types of perks they can unlock, the free-to-play business model is key to expansion.

For those hoping the Gameboy Color makes a comeback, Moore’s take on how this dynamic has also killed a core foundation of mobile gaming isn’t great news.

“One of the casualties of that is handheld gaming,” Moore said. “The smartphone free-to-play business model has destroyed it. A dedicated handheld device just feels like a vessel to remain in a past year nowadays.”

Esports are starting to resemble real sports

Moore discussed how when he was growing up in Liverpool, England, he wanted to play for the Liverpool Football club. He said he knew he would never be able to, but that didn’t stop him from buying the team’s gear. Moore said he sees a similar trend with esports right now.

“At the top level, now, these teams are sequestered away. They have training houses (and) they have daily regimens. It’s their full-time job,” Moore said. “They are working strategically as a team. That puts it out of the boundaries, the same way that, as a kid I wanted to play for Liverpool. No I wasn’t (going to, but) it got me really engaged in the game of football. It’s the same way with egaming.”

While 99 percent of gamers don’t have the determination, focus, hand-eye coordination or skill to become to a professional gamer, they are still going to continue to buy games and in some cases, train. As a result, it will improve the popularity of esports.

Sports and shooting games hold the most potential for spectatorship

FIFA, Madden NFL and Battlefield were singled out as the three games in which EA will try to improve the viewing experience the most. The nature of sports games — the back and forth between players, the score and the timed competition — make it one of the most watchable games out there. Yet Moore said that EA is still working on building engaging game modes and online competitions.

First-person shooter games, on the other hand, have unique qualities that take hold of the viewer’s attention.

“There is action (and) there is strategy,” Moore said. “You see the kill. You can see how it all mounts up to the kill. (It’s) the same way we watch war movies in that there is drama, there is intrigue (and) suspense. There’s (also) shooting.”

Augmented and virtual reality will be a major part of gaming, eventually

While the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive already have games available to play, it’s going to be awhile before it becomes a serious part of the gaming industry. It’s still uncomfortable to use virtual reality technology for long periods of time, but these devices keep the user tethered and restricted.

Moore said the biggest development in augmented and virtual reality is going to be the integration of social tools because users need to be able to virtually play games against friends for the industry to take off.

“The challenge right now with VR and AR is that they are very solitary. I don’t want to say they are antisocial, but they aren’t social,” Moore said. What you do by putting on a helmet or goggles is (that) you isolate yourself from the world … They are trying to stop you from throwing up (and) trying to get the right experiences. (And then) social will come.”

Paul Sarconi is a senior broadcast and digital journalism major. His column appears weekly. He can be reached at pjsarcon@syr.edu and followed on Twitter @paulsarconi.

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