Electronic Arts unveils new Battlefield 4 video game

Electronic Arts unveiled its newest game, Battlefield 4, at a video game conference in Redwood City on Tuesday.
October 29, 2013 7:16:48 PM PDT
Making a video game is exactly like producing a movie. Sometimes, you make a hit. Sometimes, it's a flop.

On the Peninsula, a major game conference was held Tuesday afternoon and the chatter is all about the changing fortunes of some well-known names. The video game industry is actually bigger than the movie business now.

It was a big day for Electronic Arts, as it wrapped up a big party to celebrate the launch of its newest game, Battlefield 4. It was also earnings day and the company reported $1 billion in revenue, which is about the same as where it was a year ago during this time. The company has been working very hard to adjust to a fast-changing game business.

EA used a flyover of fighter jets to launch its next-generation warfare game, Battlefield 4. The legacy game maker itself is fighting its own battles, trying to change with new technology and how people play games.

EA was an early juggernaut when game consoles were king. Then in 2007, Zynga shifted game players to Facebook's social media platform.

Smartphones also became game devices. EA had to change, but it hasn't gone smoothly.

"They have branched out into mobile. They had something like 80 percent of their revenue in a recent quarter come from non-console games from the digital, but it's just not enough revenue to keep them on the expansion path," GamesBeat lead writer Dean Takahashi said.

Now, Zynga has hit rough waters. Revenue dropped 31 percent in the last quarter. Daily users dropped 45 percent. And more change in the game industry is coming.

The game industry is going through a changing of the guard. The old guard is making way for a whole new young group of people, inventive people, some of whom are from overseas.

Startups from China and South Korea attended the conference. Prototypes of new virtual reality game systems are set for release next year. There will be more choices for players and more competition for game developers.

"It just never happened because the technology wasn't ready and here we are now with the Omni. It's finally here, so it sparks the imagination of a lot of people," Omni by Virtuix CEO Jan Goetgeluk said.

And that means the established game producers will need to be nimble.

"There's new shifts in technology that are leading the industry, but the most important thing, which is the players' ability to play the game, is always going to be at the center," Sony Online Entertainment President John Smedley said.

Some people will want to play games on the run, others at home, and others online. EA and others will be fighting for attention.


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