EA CEO considers VR headsets a “fourth modality” in gaming

Saturday, 8 March 2014 19:55 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

EA CEO Andrew Wilson has said before the company decides to create titles for virtual reality headsets it will need to study how the tech is being used by consumers in gaming.

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Speaking at a session at SXSW attended by Polygon, Wilson said “gaming hardware is too volatile a space” to plan how to implement tech such as Oculus Rift and other VR headsets.

“When we think about making games today, we think less about the technology or the means of experiencing the game, and we think more about the modality of play,” Wilson said. “So, how are you trying to interact with that game?

Wilson did say that virtual reality can potentially break ‘fourth wall’ in gaming, the other three being the lean back modality (couch gaming); the ‘lean in’ modality (PC gaming); and the ‘lean over,’ modality (mobile).

Wilson previously referred to these modalities in the firms last conference call to investors.

“When I look at any of the VR devices, I look at that not in terms of ‘What is that device going to deliver,’ but a desire for gamers to have a different type of modality — the ‘Get In’ type of modality, right,” Wilson said. “That might be delivered to you through a headset, or through some hologram that evolves out of your living room floor.

“The thing I challenge my team to right now is, ‘Listen, there’s clearly a desire to add a modality of play to the three we’re currently focused on. I don’t know who the technology partner is that’s going to deliver that modality for us, but let’s start thinking now about the experiences so that we can deliver experiences that make sense for you; experiences that deliver on the promise and the fantasy of being inside a video game.”

VR headsets are reportedly in the works at Valve (just a prototype) and Sony.

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