EA Explains Why Second Screen Support Is Key To Their Games

Published 1 year ago by

Battlefield 4 Dual Screen Support

At this year’s E3, it was hard to walk into a presentation of an upcoming AAA title and not hear the phrase “second screen.” Along with games incorporating extended social features to their gameplay, the ‘second screen’ mechanic looks like something that is set to craft a big presence in the next generation of gaming.

One of the biggest players in terms of incorporating dual screen gameplay was EA, announcing that both Need for Speed: Rivals and Battlefield 4 would come with downloadable applications for handheld devices which allow players to interact with their games in a whole new way.

For Battlefield 4, EA and DICE re-introduced the fan-favorite Commander Mode in a whole new way. The mode gives players with tablets, laptops and dual monitors a top down view of an in progress online game, allowing them to give orders and drop missiles onto the enemy team below from a handheld or secondary device. On top of that, the game will have extensive social media aspects, managed through the game’s ‘Battlelog‘ feature, encouraging competition between friends and other players.

To understand EA’s support and implementation of these mechanics, Polygon spoke with EA Games Label boss Patrick Söderlund, who says that social media and smart devices are changing our lives and creating a massive influx in the amount of information we consume, and gamers are a part of that cultural shift.

“The social revolution we’ve seen because of technology and services, like Facebook and Twitter and those kind of things, has changed how games are played. And will continue to have an impact on how we will design games from the get go.”

If EA’s recent announcements are anything to go by, social media aspects and second screens are a big part of their future plans. Soderlund confirmed that during the early processes of Star Wars: Battlefront, in which they promised to innovate,  they are trying to get DICE to consider these aspects as central to the game’s design.

“Today, this is one of the first things our game guys design when they start looking at Star Wars: Battlefront, which is going through design right now. One of the first things we talked about is these things, that tells you it’s in the minds of the people who make the games.”

Need for Speed Rivals Second Screen

There is potential for second screen and social integration into any EA game as long as it is considerate and serves a purpose, which is something Soderlund acknowledges. He said that EA’s first few attempts at second screen integration and social features were “stupid,” but that they had learned their lessons and were now trying to achieve better player/game interaction through these feature, making sure that they are worthwhile to gameplay experiences. Citing Battlefield 4 as a worthwhile example, Soderlund went on to warn:

“As people play the games we need to do a better job of providing meaningful extensions, not gimmicks. We have to make sure it actually improves the game and makes it better. Otherwise it’s useless, otherwise it becomes a gimmick, something we do because we can, which makes no sense.”

Ubisoft also is a big proponent of second screen support, builting pre-release apps for Splinter Cell Blacklist and Watch Dogs, and supporting second screen features or loadout options for Ghost Recon: Future Soldier and Far Cry 3. For their upcoming next-gen titles Watch Dogs, The Crew and Tom Clancy’s The Division, second screen features will evolve to become staple parts of actual gameplay.

Are you excited to extend gameplay features across a second screen and what would be the best use of it in your mind? Let us know in the comments!

Source: Polygon

TAGS: Battlefield 4, DICE, Electronic Arts, Mobile, Need for Speed Rivals, PC

  • TheSNAFUSpecial

    The direction I wanted dual screen support to go for next gen is to have it so instead of split screen, player two is simply on the other screen. If that feature had been added to Battlefield 4 and other games like Call of Duty,(also if Microsoft and Sony had added more than just one video out port on their consoles) it would be truly epic. Alas, there is no second video out port, and there is no co-op for BF4. Maybe MS and Sony will add more video out ports to the next iterations of the XBO and PS4, but I can only wait and see.

    • Anon

      That is not possible with the hardware of PS4 or XB1, as they can barely pull 60fps on 1080p with one screen (mind you, BF4 on consoles is 720p upscaled), let alone ANOTHER screen with same fps and quality. Such performance could only be achieved on PC with a high-range GPU.

  • Sweetjumps

    Sounds like EA should be making more games for the wii u if that’s what they want, the tech is already there and waiting to be used

    • frayzure

      Yup I agree completely. I think this is there attempt to black eye nintendo

    • http://gamerant.com Rob Keyes

      When you say “tech” you’re not referring to the specs, right? 😉

      Seriously though, it doesn’t make fiscal sense to invest in a multiplatform shooter on the Wii U. Not even Black Ops 2 could generate a community big enough to support all of the basic modes.

      The Wii U also wouldn’t be able to handle the 64-player counts of the other next-gen units and would be stuck in the same boat as PS3/X360, except without the player base.

      • roob

        Yeah, because the specs is exactly what she meant in a comment about how EA are adding a second screen.
        The spec being a second screen in every single box a wii u’s sold in.

        There’s plenty logic that can be applied to a single game not generating hundreds of thousands of people in a community.

        Remember when games on 14k could do hundreds?
        Then consoles found out the internet existed and started limiting the amount of players that could be online together.

  • Edwards rocky

    Man besides like Rockstar EA has been outdoing themselves this year.

  • Peter

    I believe EA is just trying to cover it’s bases. They ignored the Wii early and Motion gaming and the Wii exploded. This time round, they’re (still) ignoring the Wii U, but taking the extra step to incorporate which supposedly makes the Wii U unique in their games so that they don’t miss out on a potential “next big thing”

    All of which in my opinion is rather unnecessary. Partly because the Wii U has failed (let’s face it) but also because it’s a gimmicky useless feature no one really wants. It’s only “fun” in party games, which aren’t EA’s forte anyway

    • Dovahkiin

      Well, I would argue that the Wii U’s controller-screen is not gimmicky. I see the second screen option that EA is offering for BF4 as extremely useful. Imagine not having to block your screen and be able to look at the whole map at once. It could prove invaluable to armor, helicopters and snipers.

  • Bangarazz

    If they give me the second screen and I dont have to buy it, I am in !