I saw a live demo of EA's new cloud gaming service, and it totally works
EA isn't ready to say how much it costs, but it's testing a new cloud-streaming games initiative with an eye toward releasing it soon.
Ian SherrContributor and Former Editor at Large / News
Ian Sherr (he/him/his) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, so he's always had a connection to the tech world. As an editor at large at CNET, he wrote about Apple, Microsoft, VR, video games and internet troubles. Aside from writing, he tinkers with tech at home, is a longtime fencer -- the kind with swords -- and began woodworking during the pandemic.
Kyle Fujita is sitting across the room from me playing Titanfall 2. He's running around the popular game's futuristic world and readying himself to gun down enemies.
But I'm less interested in the action than the way he's playing the 2016 hit.
Fujita, a quality assurance tester for Electronic Arts, is in a nondescript room across the street from the company's Hollywood kickoff for the Electronic Entertainment Expo. His gear is just as everyday as the setting. Fujita isn't playing this high-end game on an Xbox, PlayStation or fancy gaming rig. All he's got is a TV connected to a $20 controller and a high-speed internet connection.
And that's the point.
thinks this stripped-down approach could be the future of gaming. The promise, the company says, is for you to play games anywhere you can watch Netflix. In fact, the EA system uses practically the same technology as the movie-streaming service. Which is why the company starts showing me how people can play high-end games on low-end laptops, and even phones.
Moss ought to know. He helped found
search team, which later became Bing, and has been involved in large-scale sites and services for more than two decades. All that experience comes to bear at EA, where the cloud-gaming project is in its testing phase.
EA thinks the technological and economic shifts that changed the music and movie industries are coming to games. Moss says the end result will be the same: You'll be able to play games on any device at any time as long as it's connected to the internet.
"The combination of streaming and subscriptions is really going to change the way games are consumed," Moss said. He declined to say how much EA's service would cost or when it would launch. But it could be in the next couple years.
This isn't the first time someone gamers have been promised this type of service. The idea of streaming games has been around for about a decade.
And who wouldn't want it to happen? A world where all you need is an internet connection, a controller and a device -- any device, not only the fastest or most powerful -- is an easy sell to pretty much any gamer or parent who's winced at shelling out $499 for an Xbox One X or $399 for a PlayStation 4 Pro.
The CEOs of major game companies have started to indicate they're on board too. Yves Guillemot, head of French game maker Ubisoft, recently told Variety that he sees the era of the dedicated video game console coming to an end.
"There will be one more console generation and then after that, we will be streaming, all of us," he said.
"Convenience will prevail," said Patrick Söderlund, EA's head of design. "Our job is to make sure that it technically functions and that it has a substantially better value."
First published June 9 at 6:32 p.m. PT. Update June 10 at 5:00 a.m. PT: Adds details about Microsoft's rumored Xbox streaming service; 11:59 p.m.: Adds details about Microsoft's announced streaming service.
E3 2018: CNET's coverage of the biggest video game event of the year.
E3 at GameSpot: Everything you could want from CNET's game-focused sister site.