Gaming has been shaken up by Google’s cloud gaming platform Stadia, which launches in the fall this year, and companies are taking steps to find their placement in the changing industry. Sony, Microsoft, and Ubisoft have made their positions clear as either competition to or partners with Stadia, and now EA is mulling over its own position. Senior Vice President of Player network at EA Mike Blank told The Hollywood Reporter that EA may still produce its own game streaming subscription service but he sees an opening for partnerships as well.
“We can, and we may still, offer our own,” Blank told the publication. “That said, I think there is space in the market for multiple complementary and competing services that offer different kinds of experiences to different players.”
Considering the number of companies stepping up to the cloud gaming plate, it looks like there won’t be much of a choice. Sony and Microsoft have both teamed up for cloud gaming solutions as the former gets an opportunity to utilize the latter’s Azure platform to enhance PlayStation Now for the next generation of home consoles. At E3 2019, Microsoft also announced a Stadia competitor called Project Xcloud. In that same week, Ubisoft introduced Uplay Plus for PC gamers and shared that the publisher is partnering up with Stadia to allow Uplay Plus subscribers to access the subscription’s games wherever it can be played. Bethesda even introduced a software suite meant to enhance any cloud streaming platform.
Streaming subscription services aren’t necessarily a new thing, however, which Blank also touched on in the interview.
“The new trend of subscription offerings in games is an innovation,” he explains. “It might not seem like one because subscriptions have been around for a long time in other forms of media, but there’s something unique about games because they are highly immersive, have long life experiences and they’re highly social.”
EA already has a PC gaming subscription called Origin Access and there are two tiers that cost either $5 a month/$30 a year or $15 a month/$100 a year. The more expensive premier tier of Origin Access is similar to Uplay Plus and could be positioned as another Stadia-friendly subscription. Games like Ghost Recon Breakpoint, The Elder Scrolls Online, Metro Exodus, and Farming Simulator 19 are on the list of confirmed games for Stadia but there are no EA games slated for the platform’s launch just yet. That will likely change as we get closer, unless EA decides that a streaming platform of its own is worth producing.