It's still fairly common for PC to get average ports of console-targeted blockbuster titles, but according to Electronic Arts' CFO, it may be the other way around for his publisher's studios. Speaking at the UBS Global Technology Conference, Blake Jorgensen said the company aims for the highest spec PC, and then scales back accordingly for consoles.
The question arose during a discussion about the company's flexibility when it comes to console cycles. Moving all of its games to the Frostbite Engine has meant that dramatic upgrades only need to happen for one engine, rather than "25", according to Jorgensen. In any case, he believes Microsoft and Sony are moving towards more iterative hardware upgrades anyway, and that backwards compatibility between these iterations will stop games dying at retail, thus making investing in games less risky.
In other words, Jorgensen foresees that profit margins won't need to be scaled according to new console updates because the publisher won't need to invest in new technology so often: they're already building their games to exploit the best of what hardware is available.
"You won’t see much margin upgrade at all," he said. "We build all of our games to the highest possible spec, which is typically a high-powered PC, and as the consoles come in, [which] may not be the highest spec, we may actually dummy down the console product to meet the spec of the console. In a world where the console looks more and more like a PC, that’s good for us."
That's good news for us, and given the fairly smooth launch of Battlefield 1 last month, it bodes well for the future.