EA CEO Andrew Wilson has opened up about generative AI and how the company plans to use the technology. He believes that it will drive monetization, also making game development more efficient and helping reach new audiences.

EA Sports FC 24

During a recent Morgan Stanley event (thanks TechRaptor), Wilson said Electronic Arts is “embracing deeply” generative AI, thinking about its utilization in three core areas:

  • Efficiency — with game development time increasing, EA wants to use AI to become “30% more efficient as a company”;
  • Expansion — using AI to make games bigger, deeper, and more immersive to attract more players through things like content personalization;
  • Transformation — democratizing the games industry by letting players create their own content and experiences based on EA’s brands using the company’s technology platform.

According to Wilson, generative AI could positively impact about 60% of Electronic Arts’ game development processes. “Part of that is how do we get our people to embrace it and for creators of games, this is incredibly exciting: the ability to get to the fun faster and get to market faster is the Holy Grail for them,” he said, adding that EA hopes that genAI will make the production more efficient.

When it comes to expansion, Wilson noted that while FIFA 23 had 12 run cycles for football players, the company managed to make 1,200 moves for EA Sports FC 24 using generative AI. He believes that the technology will help grow EA’s player network of roughly 700 million users by at least 50%, also using personalized content to increase monetization by 10-20%.

If you fast forward this over a five-year-plus time horizon, you think about where we've gotten to in terms of efficiency, what I would like to believe is 30% more efficient as a company, where we can attract 50% more people into our network, and hopefully by virtue of the nature of the content that we can create through generative AI, which will be created faster, and more personal to every player, then there's 10 to 20% more monetization opportunity to us on an ARPU level.

Andrew Wilson

CEO of Electronic Arts

Wilson thinks generative AI and its further evolution creates a “multi-billion dollar opportunity” for Electronic Arts in addition to its regular growth. He added that the company has always looked closely at AI and the development of this technology, and with genAI, EA is “more excited than they’ve ever been.”

These statements come just a week after the company announced its decision to lay off 5% of its workforce, or about 670 people, also reorganizing its gaming portfolio and moving away from licensed titles in the future.

Electronic Arts is not the only major publisher to publicly embrace the use of LLMs. For example, Ubisoft said last year that its developers are experimenting with AI to “identify the best use cases and harness the power of this technology to have a positive impact on creativity, workflows, and players’ experience.” However, Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick thinks the real hits will still be created by “Genius,” adding that a “machine can predict based on data sets and using massive compute and using large language models. But to confuse that result with intelligence and creativity is like confusing a magic trick with magic.”

Many developers and industry experts have different opinions about the usage of LLMs and genAI in game development. For example, Fallout co-creator Tim Cain is cautiously optimistic about the technology, thinking it also has many pitfalls and can be used for bad purposes. While AI could be a force multiplier for indie devs so that they “can make more games that currently require a Blizzard, or a Bungie, or an Epic,” creators who go the AI route entirely will just get “variations on whatever themes [they fed LLMs]” rather than originality.

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