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EA’s cloud gaming service is launching a surprise closed beta tonight

EA has announced that it’ll be launching a closed trial for its upcoming Project Atlas cloud streaming service tonight at 10PM PT / 1AM ET, allowing anyone with an EA Origin account to sign up and potentially gain access to a closed beta of EA’s in-progress cloud gaming service. The initial test will start tonight and run for two weeks.

Players selected for the trial will be able to play four games: FIFA 19, Titanfall 2, Need for Speed Rivals, and Unravel. According to a Medium post published this afternoon announcing the trial from Ken Moss, EA’s chief technology officer, the company is looking to see how games perform in real-world scenarios, particularly in regard to things like latency and jitter.

Per Moss, “EA is working on leveraging AWS and the public cloud” to make sure servers are as close to players as possible, which should help with those issues. The mix of games is also intentional, letting EA test different genres, graphical demands, and multiplayer lag across a variety of different titles.

Additionally, Moss points out the streaming technology here will eventually allow for EA games to be played on a wide range of devices, including “smart TVs, OTT streaming devices, PC or Mac laptops, tablets, and smartphones,” although the company hasn’t said what platforms the trial will run on. EA is planning to test cross-platform play, though — players in the cloud gaming trial will be able to play and interact with players on the regular PC versions of these games. Testers will also be able to sync game progress from the cloud trial to the retail PC versions once the trial ends.

There are still no details as to when EA might actually launch a Project Atlas-based cloud gaming service as a product, or any real details of what games would be available or how access to the platform would be priced. But while EA’s trial is both an early step and limited in scope, it does put the company ahead of competitions like Google’s Stadia and Microsoft’s xCloud by offering regular customers the chance to try out the service for themselves in a real-world scenario.

Google did so with its Project Stream test last year, which it used to gather feedback for what would become Stadia. But so far, neither Google nor Microsoft’s cloud gaming platforms have been available to the public outside trade shows. Google is scheduled to officially launch Stadia some time in November.

Presumably, we won’t have long to wait to find out more about how well EA’s service works, though, given that the test should be live for at least a few lucky players later tonight.

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