Following the launch of Origin, EA’s digital distribution platform, on OS X earlier this month, the gaming giant announced Tuesday that it is ready to implement a single identity system to bridge gamers’ experiences across platforms. In an increasingly segmented gaming world, EA hopes to provide users with a unified profile that can track their progress and achievements as they move between platforms, providing benefits to both gamers and EA.
From gamers’ perspectives, they will soon be able to use a single profile to access EA games on a variety of platforms, including the PC and Mac, mobile devices, game consoles, and social networking sites. They will also be able to easily connect with friends, regardless of which platform they are using, and launch multiplayer gaming sessions if the individual game supports multi-platform collaboration. Another interesting feature is “persistent state” gaming, in which a user with an EA account can begin playing a game on one platform and pick up where they left off on another platform.
But EA is not taking this step solely for users’ benefits, of course. The company will use the data to track users for marketing purposes. A unified system that gives EA a glimpse of when and how users interact with a variety of devices represents marketing gold for the company. Rajat Taneja, EA’s CTO, summarized the company’s position in an interview with GamesBeat Tuesday:
Our strategic vision at EA is to create a single backend system so that we can truly embrace the secular trends in our industry that are creating massive growth for games. And we will be able to embrace all of the new business models that come with that.
EA has been working on the unified identity system for more than 18 months, and the project has consumed the time of more than 1,500 of the company’s engineers. There’s no word yet on a public release date or the process for the rollout. It’s also not yet known how the public will react to even more data gathering by a large corporation. EA already faced a strong consumer backlash over similar privacy concerns after the initial launch of Origin in 2011.
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