Electronic Arts’ mobile division watched with great interest Apple’s reveal of the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. They were very excited to see the new capabilities unveiled, from the larger screen sizes to the more powerful A8 processor.
“It was a good Christmas morning,” said EA’s head of mobile Frank Gibeau after the conference had wrapped up. “We got a lot of the gifts we asked for. One key takeaway is that with the retina display and the improved processor, combined with the Metal [graphics] capabilities and 128 GB of memory, that gets you to a device that’s on part with next-generation consoles. That’s moving perfectly into our strike zone.”
The notion that mobile devices can be equivalent to the latest console generation will no doubt occasion a great deal of criticism, but it’s not all that far off. While the sheer horsepower of the devices in terms of polygons and clock speeds isn’t matched on smartphones, the capability of the smartphones is undeniable. The latest chips and GPU capabilities put many of the same functions found in desktop and console graphics chips in smartphones, albeit at lower overall power levels. Still, though, it means that games designed around desktop or console game engines can be more easily moved to mobile platforms with relatively high fidelity.
“In some combination of devices, we’re kind of there,” he says. “On others, it’s a little hard. The thing about mobile is there are 60,000 flavors of handsets each year. Some are extraordinarily high performance – and given that you’re looking at a small screen that’s right in front of you, pound for pound, it’s right there.” Gibeau points out the mobile prototype of Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare as an example, which runs on mobile devices using EA’s Frostbite engine. That’s the same engine used in the Battlefield series of games. Gibeau expects playable mobile products using the Frostbite graphics engine “soon.”
Gibeau also noted that the mobile technology is improving each year, which allows it to catch up with the static target of consoles. “If you look at the market… mobile has a strong growth path in front of it,” he says. “Then you’ve got wearables on top of that. At EA, we look at it as an especially powerful strategic path for us . . . We’ve been a premium business – and we’ve been changing the company from the ground up to become a services business. We have an optimistic and profoundly bright view of the future because of this platform expansion in mobile.”
Source: GamesIndustry International