EA CEO Regards VR as Fourth ‘Modality’ of Playing Games

The idea of Virtual Reality has always been very romantic to the technology buffs, and with the Oculus Rift, Valve’s prototype virtual reality technology and Sony rumoured to be working in the concept, it’s easy for developers to experiment.

However, it’s still not quite to the levels we all dream for, EA CEO Andrew Wilson sees potential for the technology to surprise us all. In an interview with Polygon he speaks out on his view of VR as a possible fourth “modality” of play.

Wilson talks about how EA can get in on the game; he views that “gaming hardware is too volatile a space to plan a company’s distant future around” but feels you should start with how the technology will “consume games in entirely new ways.”

“When we think about making games today, we think less about the technology or the means of experiencing the game, and we think more about the modality of play,” Wilson said. “So, how are you trying to interact with that game?”

Wilson sees three existing styles of play: “Lean Back” experienced, where the player is in a home entertainment environment, “Lean In” titles where the player is using PC or console for games such as first-person shooters, real-time strategy or role-playing games, and “Lean Over” games, where the player would be using a smart device such as a phone or tablet.

“When I look at any of the VR devices, I look at that not in terms of ‘What is that device going to deliver,’ but a desire for gamers to have a different type of modality — the ‘Get In’ type of modality, right, that might be delivered to you through a headset, or through some hologram that evolves out of your living room floor.”

While there is no confirmation that VR projects are actively in development for EA, Wilson added that he has told his team to “start thinking now about the about the experiences.” We shall only have to hope they will bring in some VR integration soon.