EA on Xbox Scorpio and PS4 Neo -- "This Is a Good Thing"
"It's an interesting, smart approach, and we'll see how well it works."
Electronic Arts, one of the biggest publishers in all of gaming, is excited about the new wave of consoles coming to market in the form of the Xbox Scopio and PlayStation Neo.
Asked by Game Informer about how these new consoles, unlike past systems, will be backwards compatible, EA executive vice president Patrick Soderlund said it is a "good thing."
"I believe that it's an interesting approach," he said. "We haven't seen this whole idea of upgrading since the Mega CD in 1991 or something. At the time, that might not have worked, but this is different. I can only comment to what's been announced by Microsoft, the whole idea of keeping the ecosystem intact and scaleable is right. If you get in later in the cycle, you can get a Scorpio or you can upgrade to it.
"It's an interesting, smart approach, and we'll see how well it works," he added. "It's something that we as a company are 100 percent behind. I got super excited when I saw what they are working on, and without giving you any information, the same is true of Sony. In general, this is a good thing."
The Xbox Scorpio, or whatever Microsoft ends up calling it, will support the games and peripherals you own today and use on Xbox One or Xbox One S. For previous console generation transitions, like Xbox 360 to Xbox One or PlayStation 3 to PlayStation 4, there was an element of disruption because your games and peripherals would not work with the new systems.
Repeating what other EA executives had said before, Soderlund went on to say that supporting Scorpio and Neo won't be technically difficult for EA because its Frostbite engine--which powers nearly all of its games--is "dynamic and scaleable."
"It's an engine that today supports substantially all known PC platforms and DirectX 9, 10, 11, 12. Given that these machines are almost PC architecture inside of them, they are not that difficult for us to develop for," he explained. "Scaling up and down is something we're in a good position for. If you're a developer, when you make games, you always want more capacity. You always want to bring more to the players. We're truly excited about this."
There will be further considerations, too, Soderlund said. Because Scorpio and Neo will be more powerful, developers will want to take advantage of that--but how they do so remains to be seen.
"If you were to run a Battlefield or some of our other PC games today and you run them in ultra-high definition resolution, you can run them in 4K. You can run Battlefield 4 in 4K with the right spec," Soderlund said. "That's a resolution impact, and that's meaningful. But then you get to choose what to use the horsepower on. Do you want more players in multiplayer? Do you want a deeper A.I. system?
Do you want a more advanced physics system? Do you want more stuff going on on the screen at the same time? That's where it gets a little tricky, because we have to start making decisions," he added. "The game teams will have to start making decisions about what matters most to them. But the notion of an Xbox ecosystem or a PlayStation ecosystem that keeps growing and gets bigger and bigger is important for us. Even if we come to a point where we're seeing increased development costs as a result of that, hopefully the added install base is going to solve that."
Go to Game Informer to read the full interview--it's a great read that covers numerous subjects.
Xbox Scorpio is scheduled to launch in holiday 2017 though there is no release date or window for Neo. We also don't know how much either system will cost or their exact system specs.