It’s been a great summer for everything EA Access – or as we should say now, EA Play.
The rebranding of EA Access and Origin Access Basic to EA Play already took place in August. A few weeks later, EA Play launched on Steam, a step that was only possible because the publisher had published a large part of its catalog through the service in recent months.
And just last week EA announced it would be bundling EA Play into Xbox Game Pass at no additional cost – an interesting incentive that drops just months before a new Xbox console launches.
Speak with GamesIndustry.biz, EA SVP, Strategic Growth Mike Blank says the overhaul is meant to “create a smoother, faster, more socially-oriented experience for our players where they can best connect with the people they want to play with on the internet.” Games they want to play. ”
This means the app is streamlined overall and requires fewer clicks to navigate, along with other details like desktop background updates, a “better patching experience”, and UI updates for login, registration and game libraries to make it clearer and clearer easier to design quickly to understand.
The rebranding itself, according to Blank, ties in with a more comprehensive corporate strategy that EA has visibly implemented in recent months with all of the above-mentioned changes in connection with branding and EA Play. EA, he says, wants to give players better choice of the platform they play EA games on, prioritize cross-platform play, and generally remove barriers to accessing EA games.
“All of this is signaled by creating a common and consistent brand that revolves around and stands for EA,” says Blank. “And what signals is this inflection about how EA stands for bringing your players together to the games they want to play on the platforms they want to play on. So yeah, it’s not just a name change. It really signals an ethos that is vital to us and that we know this is important to our players. “
Blank wasn’t just involved in the EA desktop app. He leads EA’s team that has been studying the recent changes, both in terms of branding and connectivity and access to games. Part of the way the Blank team has been pursuing their goals lately is to put more EA games in more locations and implement cross-platform play for as many as possible.
For example, in the days before Origin, EA had released a number of its titles for Steam, but almost completely stopped them as soon as it had its own desktop app. I ask Blank if that choice corrected what now looked like a mistake in judgment when its titles were suspended from being published on Valve’s platform for some time, but Blank – who also pointed out that his team is bringing games to the Epic Games Store , Also – says it was less about regret than about the implementation of the strategy.
“It’s been a long road for EA to see where our games show up and where they don’t. One of the things we appreciate is the democratization of gaming: how can you get more people to play? And how?” Are you making it easy for them? And by bringing our games to Steam, we’re doing just that. Whether we’ve been there in the past or not, I look to the future. And what I think today is that we are stronger and healthier. And I think we are responding to the needs of our players more effectively today than ever, and Steam is part of that journey. “
Bringing games to Steam also paved the way for EA Play to launch on the platform, where it wouldn’t have been possible without the games that support it. Blank mentions several times that EA intends to “bring more subscriptions to more platforms in the future,” a remark that naturally begs the question: What about the Nintendo Switch?
“I think if we have the opportunity to get our subscription over there and bring an even bigger portfolio to the switch, we will.”
“There are amazing games on this platform and we anticipate more games will be brought to the Switch over time,” he replies, nodding at the fact that EA is committed to adding more titles to the platform in the coming year to publish. “And I think if we have the chance to get our subscription over there and bring an even bigger portfolio to the Switch, we will. We always investigate this with our platform partners, be it Switch or Steam or Epic or Xbox or Sony. We want to be where the players are. While I have nothing to announce here, I would assume that we will continue to bring more games and great experiences to Switch. “
More games in more locations seem key to EA over the past few weeks, and it’s best exemplified in its integration with Xbox Game Pass. Blank can’t comment on the terms of the contract, but he has something to say about what EA is specifically getting out of this partnership with Microsoft.
“The reality is that the health of the game depends on the community around the game, the number of people playing that game,” he says. “And if we can help people get into our games and enjoy them again by making them run smoothly … this will be a better experience for them and then ultimately they will enjoy the game more and play the game more. “
“I think you will see more examples of where we can bring our subscription to more platforms and how we can better connect those subscriptions to existing platforms.”
“I think you will see more examples of where we can bring our subscription to more platforms and how we can better connect those subscriptions to existing platforms where we can help players not just play the games they are playing but also the devices they play on. Where we can better integrate the experiences between our own desktop application and those that exist around us like Steam, Discord and others. We believe that together we will become stronger. And the more barriers we can break down, the better. “
Ultimately, most of my questions to Blank about EA’s strategy are related to these recent moves towards the same related goals for EA: games should be democratized, players should be able to play the games they want to play on the platforms that they want to play them on and social gaming should ultimately be a smooth experience.
This is also true when I ask him how he fits EA Play into the long-term future of gaming, including the latest emerging technologies like cloud gaming and next-gen consoles. He believes that the future of gaming is one in which “isolated experiences between platforms are reduced”.
“With the advent of cloud-based games, you can play AAA-HD style games on a mobile device, which wasn’t known five years ago. Cross-play is becoming a staple of some of the greatest games out there where the expectation is that you can play with any player on any platform.
“When I think of something like EA Play, I think that going forward there is one that looks like the traditional entertainment media subscription landscape where I have one login and that one login can access the subscription whichever platform I choose also want to play. These things are not going to happen overnight. Technologically speaking, many of these things are difficult to develop, and weaving between platforms is also challenging. But it happens … This connected game The world is getting closer and closer together connected. And I think that only means good things for the players. “