EA's Entis on Epic's UE3, Spielberg and exploring new biz models

EA's Entis on Epic's UE3, Spielberg and exploring new biz models
Michael French

By Michael French

February 4th 2008 at 10:05AM

Electronic Arts is "planning for and experimenting for a very dynamic world" says chief visual officer

Electronic Arts' Glenn Entis has been providing a glimpse into how the developer/publisher is changing its practices, marking out use fo Epic's Unreal Engine 3 and exploring new demographics and business models as key strategies.

Talking to WRAL, he called Epic's engine "a great technology".

He said: "The big change at EA was that we basically recognized that [Unreal Engine 3] made practical good sense. We have lots of studios building lots of games in different genres and there are lots of different technologies and technical cultures in EA, and there were clearly games and teams where the best technology we could get was Unreal.

“It also lowered production time and technical risk. It’s different than saying there was a wholesale change in the company over to that engine, but we’ve been very happy with it.”

Entis, who moved into games after winning an Academy Award for his work at EDI - the firm that would go on to create Shrek - also said that the games industry had a long way to go to get the most out of the new wave of consoles:

“They’re extremely powerful. Once you identify an opportunity, there’s developing the technology and then being able to get it spread throughout the studios.

"As these games get bigger and more complex, the sheer effort it takes to create one of these games, that even if you have the new technology it still doesn’t mean people will have time to change what they’re doing and get a new level of content into their game right away. That, in a way, is a frustrating thing.

"It’s arduous and potentially very expensive process to upgrade technology paths and asset types and animation and so forth. Things even that we talked two or three years ago … like procedural awareness and inverse kinetic animation … will take some time to really be deeply integrated into gameplay.”

Entis is also working with Steven Spielberg on the Hollywood director's collaboration with EA - the first game of this partnership will be Boom Blox, set to be unveiled at GDC, and a key part of EA's casual games push.

Causal and new projects like the 'Play4Free' Battlefield Heroes are examples of EA's move into new areas, said Entis: “If you look at EA right now, there’s a tremendous openness to new business models. We had the subscription-based FIFA in Korea, we’re looking at micro transactions, advertising-supported games. You name it and I think there’s someone at EA exploring that business model. The world’s changing so quickly, we’re planning for and experimenting for a very dynamic world.”