Speaking in a recent interview, EA's vice president of strategic growth Matt Bilbey discussed on-demand game streaming, collecting and analyzing player data, future of consoles, virtual reality, working with Belgian government and more.
Coincidentally or not, both EA and Microsoft announced working on game streaming services somewhere around E3 and Bilbey thinks that timing will play a crucial role in delivering such a service en masse. The most notable problem is the required infrastructure, which still isn't at a satisfactory level, Bilbey said.
"If you buy into a streaming solution and the experience is laggy half the time, you're going to stop and not do it again", he said and added that this has been the bane of similar services in the past. However, he thinks we are likely to see the solution in the next two years.
Bilbey went on saying that tracking player habits is an important piece of the gaming puzzle and that EA does it across its gaming catalogue, so as to improve own services. Apparently, it allows EA to "curate" player experience, so as not to send them wrong offers at wrong times.
Interestingly, Bilbey thinks that consoles as we know them today may not exist in current form factors, even though he doesn't think they're leaving anytime soon. "It could be that the console actually exists in the smart TV. Or the next PlayStation just exist on your phone, and that then pushes the experience to all the different screens you have access to."
Bilbey is of the opinion that subscription and streaming models will change how games are made, unlocking "a new energy within our industry that's pretty motivating." He is referring to plain different format games that aren't quite finished articles. Nevertheless, blockbuster games are never really going away, he added.
As far as VR goes, Bilbey thinks that accessibility is again doing its magic, since going smaller and wireless has played a key role in propelling adoption forward. Apparently, EA hopes to take VR and AR "beyond traditional gaming", like education for instance.
Interestingly, Bilbey described EA's dealings with Belgian government over loot boxes as "education" that's "not meant in a patronizing way, but just helping them understand how we design the games".