Backwards-compatibility on next gen consoles 'unlikely', says EA exec

Electronic Arts exec outlines his expectations for Sony and Microsoft's new consoles

Next generation consoles are unlikely to feature backwards compatibility with current-gen titles and will focus on deep cross-device connectivity, a key EA executive has said.


Electronic Arts' chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen told industry executives at a business gathering on Tuesday what he predicts will come during the next console cycle.

"We have internally, but no one externally has really seen what the look and feel will be like on the new consoles," he said, as quoted by Gamasutra.

Taking part in a Q&A session at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco, Jorgensen said he would "reserve judgement" on how well the next consoles will be received.

"I think people are going to be pretty excited," he added.

While trying to remain unspecific, Jorgensen did go on to reveal more significant hints as to what to expect from the new machines.

"An important thing to remember is that next-gen consoles will most likely not be backwards compatible," he said

"And if you [play] multiplayer on a game, you'll most likely not be able to play with someone on a different generation," he added.

Hinting at a potential late 2013 release for the new consoles, which EA is referring to as 'gen-four', Jorgensen went on to say: "If you're a FIFA player and, and the soccer season's starting in August, and all your friends are playing FIFA, you're going to want to be on the same box that they're on. So if they all go out and buy a gen-four box if it comes out at Christmas, then you'll most likely do it. If they all hold on and continue to play on third-generation, you'll probably not see that box purchase until after the soccer season's over."

Jorgensen also spoke about the new consoles' focus on deep connectivity with devices such as tablets and phones.

"I do think once again without describing the new consoles, you've got to assume they're going to be highly integrated into the living room and the house, and there will be a lot of capability for interaction," he said, citing significant "connectivity potential".

Jorgensen went on, "I think as well you're going to see a lot more integration between tablets, phones, and the consoles over time. You're going to see people playing on glass at the same time they're playing on the console. And there's going to be some exciting innovations around that.

"And I think it's going to be an extension of moving from what's in the living room to what's outside the house. Even though it might not be playing on the console, it's connected to the console in some way."

Sony Computer Entertainment looks set to officially unveil the PlayStation 4 at an event set for February 20 at 6pm EST, where it says gamers will "see the future".