Electronic Arts isn’t just dipping its toes into Games-as-a-Service (GaaS) these days, so much as storming in like a rhino at a tea party. So, with an air of inevitability, it comes as little surprise to hear EA CEO Andrew Wilson explain how GaaS is now “foundational” for gaming’s future.
Having a wee chat with GameDaily.Biz during E3 week, Wilson eulogised the social elements of GaaS, explain how ongoing support and endless games is going to form the core of games going forward.
“Once you get to the point where social interaction is really, really, important, then you discover that network effect in the context of games is as important as it is for Facebook, or Snapchat, or Twitter, or any of these other social grounds,” said Wilson. “Once you come to terms with that, what you understand is that people will come together to consume this content together and they will want to stay and continue to consume that content and fuel those relationships as part of that.”
Consuming content has to go down as one of the most turgid marketing phrases. It highlights what we are to the money men - sheep lining up to be fed. Nevertheless, the games industry as a whole is feeding alright, leading to a rapid uptake in both the popularity and quantity of GaaS titles.
For EA and Wilson, they believe this is core to where the games industry is heading; the intertwining of games and socialising. “The reality is that is going to mean games as service is going to be foundational to our industry because that is how you will fulfill the motivations of players who have social interaction at the very core of why many of them play games for much of the time they play,” Wilson continued. “The games-as-a-service concept is likely to be foundational to our future because it fulfills the very core motivation of how we interact as human beings.”
The good news for the GaaS detractors is Wilson admits this “doesn't mean that has to be the case for every game”. EA itself has Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order on the horizon, a wholly single-player experience without a whiff of GaaS. As far as we can tell, at least. Fallen Order is the exception rather than the norm for EA though, and it now becomes a case of juggling these ongoing titles, ensuring they’re financially viable while competing for limited user time. We all only have so much time to play games, and with dozens of service titles vying for our attention, there’s only room for so many at a AAA scale.
It’s shaping up to be an interesting time as the likes of EA try to feel their way around this situation. There’s certainly a feeling that they’re perhaps throwing too many eggs into one basket though, as there’s still a massive audience out there which wants both single-player and multiplayer titles which aren’t service driven.
What are your thoughts on this situation then, is GaaS the foundation for gaming’s future? Are we fast approaching a time where nearly all AAA titles on focused on social features and endless updates? Share your thoughts on it below!