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EA boss Andrew Wilson said generative AI is something the publisher is 'embracing deeply.'

Chris Kerr, News Editor

March 7, 2024

3 Min Read
A headshot of EA CEO Andrew Wilson on a stylized background
Headshot of Andrew Wilson via EA

Fresh from laying off 5 percent of EA's workforce, company CEO Andrew Wilson took the stage at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference to espouse the benefits of generative AI in the world of game development.

In an audio recording of the Q&A session available on the EA website (thanks TechRaptor), Wilson said the dawn of generative AI technology is "incredibly exciting" and something EA is "embracing deeply."

When asked to help onlookers understand how generative AI might impact and transform game businesses, Wilson explained the company has been using machine learning AI for a while to refine gameplay elements, such as how players run inside Madden. But looking beyond that, he said generative AI is the most exciting evolution of the tech "by a fairly wide margin" and is thought about internally on three core vectors: efficiency, expansion, and transformation.

"The thing about efficiency. This is really about 'how do we make what we do today more efficient?' And for anyone who knows about our business, it's an incredibly iterative development cycle [...] and incredibly time-consuming, which is why games are now taking six or seven years to build," he said. "We've done a study across all of the processes of game development. About 60 percent of all of our processes have high feasibility to be possibly impacted by generative AI. Now an example of that might be how we build a stadium [...] in one of our sports games. That would typically take us six months. This past year, it took us six weeks. It's not unnatural for us to believe that in the coming years, it will take us six days.

"If you just roll that out across every aspect of development, we think there's meaningful efficiency we can drive. We don't have the map on it yet, I would tell you in the back of my mind, my orientation is 'how can we use generative AI to make us 30 percent more efficient as a company?' How in three years from today could we be 30 percent more efficient?"

Gen AI tools for "greatness"

He says part of that process is understanding how to get developers to embrace the tech, but feels gen AI tools will ultimately help creators more quickly achieve "greatness." Where "expansion" is concerned, he stated that generative AI was used to increase the number of run cycles in EA Sports FC 24 from 12 to 1,200. "That was all done with generative AI," he explained, before claiming that upswing makes the gameplay experience more unique and immersive, which in turn drives player numbers, engagement, and revenue. "Where there is real personalized content, bespoke to me and my friends, monetization is 10 to 20 percent greater," he added.

Looking beyond that, Wilson feels generative AI tools will help "democratize" the game industry by letting billions of players "create personal content" or even build their own universes within the publisher's various tech platforms. "All of a sudden we are the beneficiaries of platform economics, and for me that's a multi-billion dollar opportunity for us in addition to what we would otherwise get out of our regular growth," he says.

"For AI for us, it's early days. We all know it's early. Every day we read about some incredible advancement or some incredible mistake that some chatbot has made when you ask it a question. But for us as a company who basically builds our business on AI, and has driven through the various incarnations of AI, we find ourselves [looking] at gen AI and we're more excited now than we've ever been."

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About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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