A new patent by Electronic Arts suggests that purely AI-controlled, self-playing matches in its mobile sports games could be an upcoming feature. This patent follows the slew of patents that EA has filed for in the past month, and each of them seems to be for different aspects of innovation in the publisher’s existing franchises and future titles.
In addition to self-playing matches, patents have been filed for changing in-game advertisements, facial animation advancements, and eliminating the need for boot-up screens. EA is known for anti-consumer practices, regarded as one of the least-liked companies in America and barebones updates to their annual sports game entries. Also, the company is embroiled in class-action lawsuits regarding the use of loot boxes in its games.
Game Rant reports that the new patent allows for a system to be implemented in EA’s mobile sports games that simulate games for players, giving options at impactful parts of the game. This system is similar to that of Madden‘s simulation feature would advance the match to parts that the player could act out when deemed necessary. Per the patent:
“Mobile computing devices, such as smartphones and tablets, have increasingly become the primary computing devices for many users… However, the duration of a single game in sports video games is commonly too long for the normal contiguous usage of a mobile computing device. Furthermore, the duration of the single game is commonly too long for a user to play against another user who is also playing using a mobile computing device.”
In summary, mobile sports games take too long to complete to be viable for players to complete in an acceptable amount of time. This patent claims the system would allow players to finish a game faster without losing the ability to interact in the game.
Complaints against EA and its practices are nothing new gamers. Debacles over in-game advertisements, incentivized loot boxes, pay-to-win games and Star Wars’ general mismanagement are synonymous with the much-maligned company. However, the patents may indicate that EA is trying to innovate again and listen to its fans. Other examples include its EA Originals initiative, which fosters original IPs with smaller independent studios, and the return of its College Football series.
However, it is important to note that, given EA’s track record, a fair amount of skepticism is needed before any given judgment. The length of time the application of the systems in these patents could take anywhere from months to years. Still, the notion that playing a few games of FIFA on the bus, with simplified approaches to gameplay, is an appealing one. Hopefully, EA undergoes the culture change it desperately needs to take some of the bad press away.
Source: Game Rant