EA says generative AI will make gamers spend more, speed up development time

Estimated read time 2 min read

A hot potato: Electronic Arts is an organization that arguably only misses out on the title of “most-hated game company in the world” because Ubisoft exists. As it turns out, EA loves generative AI. CEO Andrew Wilson has been praising the technology, claiming it is set to make EA 30% more efficient while boosting monetization by 20% over the next five years. It also sounds like it will cost more game developers their jobs.

Speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference on Wednesday (via Techraptor), Wilson called generative AI an “incredibly exciting” technology that EA is embracing.

Wilson highlighted just how much generative AI is able to cut down a game’s development time. As an example, he said building a stadium for a sports game previously took six months. Over the past year, with the help of the new tech, that has dropped to just six weeks, and it could be down to just six days in the coming years.

Wilson also believes that AI can benefit gamers as well as developers. He said that in FIFA 23, the players run in 12 different ways, while those in EA Sports FC 24 have 1,200 run cycles, thanks to generative AI.

The CEO believes that generative AI will increase EA’s efficiency by 30% over the next five years while also growing its player base of 700 million people by at least 50%. He thinks it will convince players to spend 10-20% more money on its games, too, due to “real personalized content, bespoke to me and bespoke to my friends.”

Like so many CEOs who talk about the benefits of AI, Wilson claims EA’s workers are using the technology to augment and speed up their work, rather than it being used as a means of replacing them. However, it was only a few weeks ago that EA said it was laying off around 670 employees, as well as sunsetting some games and moving away from future IPs.

Wilson’s talk of generative AI improving efficiency and, by extension, reducing the required number of developers comes at a bad time. There have been around 8,000 layoffs in the game industry during the first two months of 2024, or around 80% of all the layoffs recorded throughout the entirety of last year.

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