EA Games Label head Patrick Soderlund has explained why EA are so concerned with incorporating social features and second-screen opportunities into as many of their games as possible going forward.
"We've been on that train for a while, I can't say we've been perfect, but we've done a lot like the the whole idea of autolog in Need for Speed was because of a behavioral change in consumer minds," Soderlund said. "If you look at how [the smartphone] affected your life, how Facebook affected your life, I can't watch TV without using [a smartphone] five times during a movie. It's ridiculous, but that's what it is, and everyone does that."
"[Battlelog] went from a way for us to launch the game from a website, which was maybe not the best idea, to today a full-fledged social window into the game and also a window out to people playing it," he said. "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.
"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. What we are seeing is the start of it, and it's just going to take a bigger part of games."
Of course, early examples of second-screen features tended ore towards gimmickry than usefulness, but Soderlund is undeterred and says that it's all about creating something meaningful for players.
"I was a little bit wary of the whole idea of second screen on Battlefield, but now that I'm playing on PS4 or Xbox One, I want to have the pad in front of me. I do the loadouts, I can have the minimap on my big iPad in front of me and I can direct my squad. It actually serves a function. 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."
"Games are becoming more and more complex, they're deeper experiences, so we have to constantly fight the battle of how do we make this accessible to the consumer," he added. "Sometimes a second screen, in the Battlefield case, will make the game accessible. I can command troops. I can see what's going on my second screen, while I'm playing in front of me. It's not necessarily about a feature, it's about making the game easier to understand and to play as well." [Polygon]