Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson predicts a future in which games will be inescapable and deeply integrated with your real-life activities. As an example, he suggested the material comfort of your Sims could reflect your own domestic arrangements. The interview concludes with a discussion of EA's position on diversity in games.
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In an interview with The Verge, Andrew Wilson is invited to predict how video games will affect our lives in 2021.
“The biggest shift I think we’ll see is games moving from being a discrete experience to an indiscrete experience,” says Wilson, drawing an analogy with music. He contrasts the ubiquity of music today, available to stream to devices almost wherever you go, with the restrictions in choice and availability in the ‘90s, when you’d have to listen to the radio or walk to the shops to buy a cassette tape.
Now “think about what the world looks like with a 5G network streaming latency-free to every device you own. It’s really easy to imagine that games would permeate our lives much the way digital music does today.
“From the minute I get up in the morning, everything I do has an impact on my gaming life, both discrete and indiscrete. The amount of eggs I have in my internet-enabled fridge might mean my Sims are better off in my game. That length of distance I drive in my Tesla on the way to work might mean that I get more juice in Need for Speed. If I go to soccer practice in the afternoon, by virtue of internet-enabled soccer boots, that might give me juice or new cards in my FIFA product. This world where games and life start to blend I think really comes into play in the not-too-distant future, and almost certainly by 2021."
Wilson goes on to discuss games in the context of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, virtual worlds many times bigger than the Solar System in scale, and a world in which hundreds of platforms are capable of playing games and refreshing constantly. For fans of blue-skies futuregazing, it's worth reading in full. There are also less radical, but still interesting, discussions about eSports and virtual reality, before the interview concludes with a talk about the importance of diversity in games.
"Representation is really important", says Wilson. "Today the average age of a gamer, I think, is about 35. Nearly 50 percent of them are female, and certainly gaming transcends all forms of culture and gender and background, both socioeconomic and ethnic".
Wilson praises the diversity that exists in EA's games already, saying "we have strong female leads, we have strong black leads, we have strong Latino leads, we have young leads to older leads". Wilson notes EA won't force its studios to create diverse casts - "it won't be any mandate that we make going forward", in his words - but it's clear that it's something he values.