EA Focusing On Social Gaming Over 3D

There’s no denying that 3D technology is becoming increasingly present in everyone’s daily lives. Whether you’re at the cinema for a summer blockbuster, at the store surrounded by new 3D televisions, or sitting down to play a game, there’s no escaping the grasp of 3D.

Due to the high price point of the technology though, outside of movie theaters, the barrier has proved discouraging for many prospective consumers. EA recognizes the challenge and plans to adapt accordingly.

During a meeting with their shareholders, John Riccitello, the CEO of Electronic Arts discussed the company’s stance on the newest trend in gaming. Rather than focusing on developing games with 3D technology in mind, like many other companies, EA plans to focus more on the social features of gaming. According to Riccitello, unlike 3D, these features are experiencing a “high uptake.”

This wouldn’t be the first time that EA has expressed an interest in the casual side of gaming, having purchased PopCap Games and announced that they are working on a Simpsons Facebook game, but this move is a mix of surprising and expected respects. While companies like Silicon Knights are receiving funding to develop new 3D technology, it’s surprising to see a company as large as EA shying away. Even though many believe that the technology is the way of the future, it still has yet to catch-on in the gaming medium. According to Riccitello:

“Frankly, we have not seen a big uptake for 3D gaming. We haven’t seen a big uptake for 3D televisions in the home, at least not yet. And we’re not here trying to drive the market, we’re here to react to what consumers are looking for.”

He then went on to speak about the “high uptake” of social features in gaming:

“We’ve seen really high returns here, and very poor returns focusing on 3D. So our allocation of resources have been toward the new innovations that are growing more rapidly.”

In this respect, it’s not surprising to see EA distancing themselves from the technology. Even if it is destined to be the future of gaming, in its current state, it is still struggling to stay afloat. Until the price of 3D becomes more affordable for consumers, it will mostly only appeal to a niche market. For a company like EA, who have to constantly be looking at what’s profitable, it’s difficult to invest money in something that is not successful in its current form and – any future success is far from a sure thing.

This is not to say that EA will never focus on 3D gaming, but for the time being, there are more important features that they plan to hone-in on. While EA is just one company amongst many, this could be a major blow to the budding technology – at lest in the game space. If more and more major developers begin to shy away from 3D, Skyrim‘s director included, this will no doubt discourage smaller developers and over time, could lead to the technology dying out.

In its current state though, while it may not be as strong as some would hope, 3D technology is showing no signs of going away. Whether in gaming or film, 3D seems as if it’s here to stay.

Do you agree with EA’s decision to focus more on the social aspects of games over 3D technology? Do you see a future for the technology in the gaming medium?

Source: VG247

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