Interactive media continues to grow at a remarkable speed, and Laura Miele of EA Games is decidedly optimistic about its exciting future.
With over 300 million consumers, Vancouver-based EA Games (NASDAQGS:EA) hosts the largest gaming network worldwide.
Originally founded in 1983 as Distinctive Software, EA Games has a staff of over 1,300 with three production studios, over 20 production rooms and 14 video editing studios.
Laura Miele, chief studios officer at EA, spoke at the Collision Conference in Toronto, which took place from May 20 to 23. Recognized as a leader in pioneering consumer forecasting and feedback systems for EA, Miele has worked with the company for over two decades, since its early beginnings.
The gaming behemoth has a market capitalization of US$27.34 billion. In early May, it reported a first quarter net revenue figure of US$1.23 billion and is projecting that net revenue for the 2020 fiscal year will reach US$5.37 billion.
As part of her talk at Collision, Miele discussed her unrelenting optimism for the next generation and the impact of interactive gaming on social behavior.
“Ninety percent of teenagers play games. Seventy percent of teenage male Gen Zs identify with gaming as the core of who they are and their social life,” Miele said. “Seven out of 10 people who are online in China play games. And zero out of 10 Gen Z teenagers would prefer TV over their devices.”
Miele drew attention to the trend of how millennials and Generation Z display an overarching preference for interactive entertainment, a trend that marks a departure from previous generations.
“The impact of interactive entertainment on an individual is profound,” said Miele. “It impacts the way people learn, the way they engage with the world around them and how they problem solve.”
According to a study conducted by the Queensland University of Technology, the associated benefits of interactive screen time include improving cognitive and spatial skills, attention and inductive reasoning.
Interactive entertainment promotes performing at higher levels and engaging the brain to win. “Nothing lights up the brain like play,” Miele said.
Further to that effect, this form of entertainment has an integral impact on individuals. Where passive entertainment is observant and the audience has no influence on what they are experiencing, interactive entertainment involves communication, relationship building, problem solving, creativity and critical thinking, said Miele.
According to Common Sense Media, on average, teens spend nine hours a day online. The survey was based off of 2,658 subjects in 2015.
“The explosion of esports and mega hits like ‘Fortnite’ and ‘Apex Legends’ are attentive to the demand of hundreds of millions of players wanting this type of experience. They reveal the incredible ways that gaming builds social connections virtually,” said Miele.
“Apex Legends” reached 50 million players only a month after its release earlier this year.
Predicated on teamwork, “Apex Legends” calls itself “a character-driven, squad-based Battle Royale shooter where teamwork is the difference between victory and defeat.”
Citing the impact of collaboration, Miele remarked on how this promotes positive behaviors outside of gaming. Miele said that some college-level football coaches even assign EA Games’ Madden NFL for players to practice play calls and strategy.
“Our studies show that those who choose to play with two other people or more have a far higher tendency to collaborate and partner outside of games than not,” said Miele.
Beneath the surface of interactive gaming are a number of sustainable advantages and opportunities for the future. Through advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, the gaming world will inevitably expand and evolve to new scales, said Miele.
Dr. Paul Toprac at the University of Texas projects a number oftrends for the future of the gaming industry. These include greater diversity in games, implementation of virtual reality in sectors such as healthcare and the military and the use of games for behavior modification and learning techniques.
Harvard University has illustrated that the interaction between the physical and the digital world will likely blur as AI, virtual reality and augmented reality become more embedded in the user experience. This will be accentuated by natural language processing advancements.
“With the applications of machine learning, worlds in the metaverse will react to your entirely new imaginary dreamscapes built on your settings, your stories, your interests and of course, your friends. And I believe within the next 10 years, this will be very real,” said Miele.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Dorothy Neufeld, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.