EA Exec Ponders What's Coming After Xbox One, PS4, Wii U

"What is the next console?"


What's coming after the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Wii U? It's too early to know for sure, but this topic is one that publisher Electronic Arts is already thinking about and taking steps to prepare for. Speaking at the UBS Global Technology Conference in San Francisco today, Jorgensen was asked to talk about some subjects that "keep EA up at night." One of these, he said, is "What is the next console?"

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"We believe that deep, immersive gaming is something that consumers are always going to want to do," Jorgensen said. "The question becomes, 'What's the method in which they do that?' We don't believe that everyone is going to go to casual gaming only and leave deep immersive gaming that they have. The trend has never shown that. I think the question becomes, 'What happens to the next console? What is the next console?' 'Who produces the next console?'"

Jorgesen went on to say that traditional consoles are somewhat "odd" in the consumer technology world. Unlike a smartphone that you upgrade every couple years, the same console that sits under your TV today will likely be supported for a decade into the future. Jorgensen said one solution for the future could be a multi-functional PC-like system.

"At the end of the day, a console is a high-powered PC that sits in your living room," he said. "And in fact, it's an odd piece of technology. There are very few pieces of technology out there that sit somewhere for seven or eight years; the typewriter may have been the last one, maybe the Polycom. And so the question becomes, 'Is there something that's more of a PC-like device that sits in your house that does multiple things?' It may stream movies, or music, and also allow you to play console games."

"If it's not Microsoft and Sony, it might be Apple and Google or someone else that wants to go after gaming" -- Jorgensen

He went on to say that there are already "lots of interesting" developments in this area, also suggesting that Microsoft and Sony may one day face genuine competition in the console space from the likes of Apple and/or Google, among others.

"Microsoft's obviously doing a lot with Windows today that might lead to a path they're going to do down," Jorgensen said. "Apple and Apple TV is leading to a path that would include gaming. I think the thing to remember is a couple of key components. People understand there is a large market [for console gaming]; it's a very engaged market; and it's a market, by the way, that's kind of accepted the 70/30 revenue split [between publishers and developers] that's worked in music and books and others. And all of that implies that if it's not Microsoft and Sony, it might be Apple and Google or someone else that wants to go after gaming. Our strategy is be in a position that we can handle a transition from any platform."

Jorgensen said EA is preparing for such a transition by reducing the number of different game engines it uses across its various studios and games. At one time, EA studios used 26 different game engines, which could be problematic for developers moving between teams or sharing ideas with other studios. But now, there are just two: Frostbite and Ignite. In the future, Jorgensen said he hopes Frostbite will power every EA game, a move that would "protect us if there is a shift to another platform because we can move everything all together at once versus have to move 26 different engines."

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