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EA R&D spending rises as next gen gears up (AI, Machine learning, physics, streaming)

cormack12

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Mar 21, 2013
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Source: https://www.tweaktown.com/news/7775...-up-for-battlefield-6-next-gen-games/amp.html

EA is spending more on research and development as it ramps up big next-gen projects from Battlefield 6 to Star Wars.



EA's latest third quarter financials show a clear trend: R&D spending has been climbing quarter-over-quarter for some time. EA spent $451 million in R&D on the back of $1.6 billion in net revenues. The more money EA makes, the more comfortable it is investing in future titles.

So what is EA spending the money on? It's currently funding its experimental SEED division, which is focused on new and fledgling next-gen technologies like machine learning, AI, and other advanced tech like ray tracing on consoles and PC. EA is also planning a game streaming service called Project Atlas.

SEED should directly fold into DICE's powerful Frostbite engine [..] also leverage advanced new features like high-end perf targets and unscripted real-time physics destruction in games like Battlefield 6.


Projects EA is currently working on

The Sims 5
Battlefield 6
Dragon Age 4
Mass Effect 4
New FIFA/Madden games
Multiple new Star Wars games
Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order 2
 

bender

Bending Rodríguez (22, 1,729)
Apr 12, 2010
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I wish they'd put more effort into the re-releases of their back catalog. As much as I dislike Activision, they are the gold standard with their recent remaster efforts.
 
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Bernd Lauert

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Machine Learning in order to make believeable procedural worlds, perfect animations (no mo-cap needed) and voice acting (no voice actors needed).

AI to simulate a believable, lively world with hundreds of NPCs doing everyday stuff and enemies being way more flexible in their behaivors.

Destructions for more world interactivity.

Sounds good.
 

ToTTenTranz

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Feb 4, 2021
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EA is spending more on research and development as it ramps up big next-gen projects from Battlefield 6 to Star Wars.


R&D spending has been ballooning since Q2 2020. Which is right after the Unreal Engine 5 demo was released.

I heard all game engine devs for AAA titles went into panic mode after seeing that demo, and they're scrambling to release a version of their engine that does something similar.
Unity has their own place in mobile, but IDSoft's IDTech, EA's Frostbyte, CryEngine, Ubisoft's Snowdrop, etc. have nothing that can compete with Epic's compute-based "one-triangle-per-pixel" marvel.


My own wild guess is most engine houses thought they'd have a comfortable generation these years by just taking their old engines and slapping RT-ON effects here and there.
And why wouldn't they? The new consoles have "just" a faster CPU and faster GPU with raytracing, both of which being ISA-compatible evolutions of the previous-gen hardware. We're already seeing how great both consoles are at just running 8th-gen engines/games.

UE5 completely changed all that and now everyone is on their toes to present something similar to implement ASAP. If Frostbite can't compete with UE5's visuals then EA will eventually just use UE5 and kill DICE's SEED team (something they'll fight with all their might and I hope they succeed).



Competition is great!
 
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cormack12

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Mar 21, 2013
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R&D spending has been ballooning since Q2 2020. Which is right after the Unreal Engine 5 demo was released.

I heard all game engine devs for AAA titles went into panic mode after seeing that demo, and they're scrambling to release a version of their engine that does something similar.
Unity has their own place in mobile, but IDSoft's IDTech, EA's Frostbyte, CryEngine, Ubisoft's Snowdrop, etc. have nothing that can compete with Epic's compute-based "one-triangle-per-pixel" marvel.


My own wild guess is most engine houses thought they'd have a comfortable generation these years by just taking their old engines and slapping RT-ON effects here and there.
And why wouldn't they? The new consoles have "just" a faster CPU and faster GPU with raytracing, both of which being ISA-compatible evolutions of the previous-gen hardware. We're already seeing how great both consoles are at just running 8th-gen engines/games.

UE5 completely changed all that and now everyone is on their toes to present something similar to implement ASAP. If Frostbite can't compete with UE5's visuals then EA will eventually just use UE5 and kill DICE's SEED team (something they'll fight with all their might and I hope they succeed).



Competition is great!

Yeah, all proprietary engines are now going to need their own versions of Lumens and Nanite or they will look really aged in the next three years if they are still bound to polycounts. Good art and design can do so much but they will need their own implementations.
 

ZywyPL

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Nov 27, 2018
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All that, just to rush their games at the end of the day and make it all somewhat worthless...
 

Azurro

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If indeed that is the case that engine devs got panicked after seeing UE5, then I'm quite happy.

I mean, I'm very happy with my PS5, but actual next generation graphics are hard to come by as aside from Demon's Souls, most games are either PS4 games at higher resolution and framerate, or they are at the same resolution and framerate except with Ray Tracing turned on, which is a big disappointment.

I understand that some people are excited ray tracing is even being performed in real time, but to me it only ever transforms the image in some very specific instances and most of the times you have to stop playing to even notice it, while you have to sacrifice a lot of frames and resolution.

I know some people are very happy just to hear 60 fps, resolution numbers and so on, but the overall image is incredibly similar to last gen, just smoother and clearer, so I'm glad someone is trying to push graphics forward.
 

MadAnon

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Sep 11, 2018
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By AI research you mean an AI that analyzes your gameplay to offer customized MTX?
 
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Kuranghi

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Apr 17, 2015
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I'm excited for better physics but I don't want procedurally generated VAs, thats too far from being ready from what I've seen.

I'd normally just say go for the new things, but in some tech sectors the last 5 years they have been jumping on new stuff before its really ready and I would rather it stay in the oven longer sometimes.