Science

EA Now Allows Continued Play On Multiple Platforms

By Matthew Klickstein , Feb 27, 2013 03:06 PM EST

Gaming company Electronic Arts has overcome a titanic engineering hurdle by creating a system in which gamers can maintain a single identity across multiple platforms. The same identity can be retained even if the platforms in question are owned by competing companies.

What this means is that a person can login on one gaming system with a particular identity and continue playing the same game on another platform at a later time. A gamer can buy an EA game and start playing it on, say, Xbox 360 and then keep playing the same game with the same identity later on PlayStation 3.

"That could help EA embrace new business models and target better marketing pitches at gamers as they play EA's games," says GamesBeat.

In an exclusive interview with EA's chief technology officer, Rajat Taneja, GamesBeat also discovered that the platforms through which a gamer can swiftly transition include Facebook and EA's own online gaming service.

"Our strategic vision at EA is to create a single backend system so that we can truly embrace the secular trends in our industry that are creating massive growth for games," says Taneja. "And we will be able to embrace all of the new business models that come with that."

As long as the game permits multiplayer functionality through "appointment gaming," two or more players will be able to "find" each other in the game across multiple platforms. They will also be able to communicate "in a timely manner."

GamesBeat reports that creating the ability to cross platforms in this way took 1,500 EA engineers more than 18 months.

This is one more gigantic leap EA chief executive John Riccitiello has taken in ensuring that EA will become more than just a game publisher. The move toward becoming a "multiplatform digital games company" is also part of the company's long-term goal of "creating a unified platform across all of EA's games and platforms."

Taneja first discussed the concept of GamesBeat building an EA-wide single platform that "every game can connect with and, in a consistent and convenient way, have common services" in June, 2012.

"When you come into an EA game, when you see friends, when you see matchmaking, leaders, chat, it should be common and consistent in the way that it looks and feels," Taneja said in that earlier interview. "When you want to play the same game on a different device, we should allow you to have a very easy and seamless experience moving your credentials, moving your team, moving your game events, achievements, etc."

Less than one year later, EA has achieved the goal of connecting multiple platforms. The only hurdle now is figuring out just when consumers will gain access to the system.

"There's no word yet on when the new system will start rolling out to users," says The Verge. 

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