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

Saturday, 8th 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.


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.



  1. SlayerGT

    I could imagine enjoying VR in any game where you’re seated. Fps or 3ps not so much. Gran Turismo from the in car would be sweet. More so with a wheel set up. Or any flight game. Piloting a helo in ARMA for instance, that I would eat up.

    #1 10 months ago
  2. game_on

    I just can’t imagine people enjoying playing games with a big thing like that on their head. I don’t even know people who like watching a 3D movie with glassess. This will never reach a mainstream market.

    #2 10 months ago
  3. TheWulf

    This is often how it is. Someone creates some innovation, then the suits look at this innovation and decide how viable it is. If it’s profitable, the bandwagon is adopted and they make shinier versions of things that might not necessarily be as good. Sometimes this can happen decades later, even, if they’re especially oblivious. This can often, sadly, lead to the dessication of old, respected IPs.

    So… EA will watch, and if it’s profitable, we can count on mainstream AAA hyper reality experiences with all of the explosions. Contrary to that, what’s been selling it to me is what they’ve been doing with it regarding emulators. I will admit, I want to play Metroid Prime with it really badly — this could add something that would reinvigorate a lot of old first person games for me that I’ve played so much that I’m bored of.

    And now I’m thinking stuff like ‘my goodness, how much more immersive would stuff like Uru or the Pandora Directive be with this?’

    But an Oculus Rift is expensive and I’m saving for more important things at the moment. So… not now. But maybe soon, and by then it’ll probably have better old game and emulator support. And hopefully the whole scene won’t have been swallowed up by the AAA industry.

    #3 10 months ago
  4. TheWulf


    It’s not as big or heavy as you might expect, at least according to someone I’ve spoken with about it. And, honestly, because it provides such an incredibly unique gaming experience… I could see it catching on.

    #4 10 months ago
  5. Stardog

    This Wilson fella’s got all the hip corporate lingo going. The modality of play? What a wanker.

    #5 10 months ago
  6. X14EVR

    the day i put one of those gay things on my face is the day i let a someone stick a dick on my face and not shoot them in the nuggets with one of my guns (my dad gives me like 6 guns a year so i own like 70-300 guns now and i bring home some from the marines where i work)

    #6 10 months ago
  7. Hyperx64

    Post-Modern PR is like trying to raise your eyebrows higher than they can actually go!

    #7 10 months ago

Comments are now closed on this article.