11:27 AM - July 26, 2011 by MMChrisS
After we've heard rumors and rumors of rumors about EA Sports contemplating a subscription cloud based service for it's games, we get a senior exec saying the same things in an interview, basically making all we've heard to be true.
What does it mean? Well as I've pointed out each week on the OS Radio Show (we even talked about this specific article on there last night), this is the likely future of gaming. It makes too much sense from a cost/development cycle perspective not to do.
For the customer, I'd expect this might be something coming in the next generation of consoles (2014-2015). Depending on how stupid console manufacturers are, we could see physical media completely go away and the cloud take over gaming by then. Of course, with SD Card Memory Prices falling so rapidly maybe it's got a future in gaming as a media? 8 GB Cards currently go for just over 10 bucks, and the actual cost of manufacturing them can't be much higher than a Blu-Ray disk these days.
The way I envision it is that each publisher would offer monthly or annual subscriptions to games. Basically you'd pay $60 for access to a game for a year -- and then I can see a publisher basically bringing in annual packages for their entire lineup at a cost savings. So it'd be $40/month for every EA Sports Title through the whole year.
This could indicate that you could see development cycles which are never finished per-se, as games are continually updated and added to throughout the year. Regardless, it's an interesting conversation which is all heresay up until the point the future of gaming is revealed in the new Sony and Microsoft offerings, likely next June (or the one after that) at E3.