Second screen gaming is becoming more important to EA as the way media is consumed changes, and if games label head Patrick Soderlund has any say, he’s going to make sure his development teams implement it as “a meaningful extension” to games.
Speaking with Polygon, Soderlund said due to consumers being more capable than ever of multitasking and using social media to make decisions, people are expecting more from day-to-day interactions which translate over into their gaming experiences.
This is why, according to Soderlund, EA is working hard to incorporate social and second screen options into its games.
“We’ve been on that train for awhile, 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,” he 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.
“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.”
EA is incorporating second screen gaming with two of its biggest titles to launch in the latter half of 2013: Battlefield 4 and Need For Speed: Rivals, and it’s something Soderlund plans on continuing to push as long as he is the one approving game designs.
“As long as I’m doing what I’m doing and talking with teams and approving the designs, I’m going to force them to at least try to think about it as at least a meaningful extension to the game,” he said.
“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.”