The annual releases of EA Sports’ popular Madden and FIFA games could soon be replaced by a subscription model that makes sense for electronic arts and sports video games in general.
The video game industry is moving away from physical discs to online downloads, including full games, their updates, and downloadable content. The sports video game industry is part of this trend, but even greater change could be on the way.
Each year, EA Sports releases a new version of its Madden and FIFA titles, including Madden NFL 18 and FIFA 18. The annual updates usually add gameplay tweaks, roster updates and, in a few years, one or two new modes.
However, many fans of sports games see the updates as relatively minor, especially compared to the successions of titles from other genres. Fortunately, Electronic Arts will fix that soon.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Andrew Wilson, CEO of Electronic Arts, said there will be no more releases from Madden and FIFA soon. The games are instead being switched to a subscription model with online updates.
“There’s a world where it gets easier and easier to move (gaming code) around – where we may not have to do an annual release,” Wilson said, adding that the games can be viewed as a 365-day live service.
Wilson also said that about every four years he sees a “new big code drop”, which would mean a new version of Madden and FIFA after that time. Incremental changes that cover what changes between annual releases are instead introduced through online updates.
By switching to a subscription model, EA Sports and other sports video game companies are being relieved of the burden of releasing a new version of their titles each year. New modes and features get enough time for development and testing before they are rolled out.
This means that players get the new modes and features in near-perfect shape, rather than blundering through development.
However, Wilson did not provide a precise timetable for the timing of Madden’s and FIFA’s subscription services. The management has not provided any pricing for the service, but it’s likely to have more value than buying a new game every year that only offers incremental updates.