For years now the FIFA community has wondered whether EA would stop selling a new game in the huge football series each year.
Currently, EA releases a new, full price FIFA game each September. Each game usually includes gameplay improvements, squad updates, improved graphics and new modes and features.
But there’s a feeling it’s becoming increasingly difficult for EA to justify asking for fifty quid for a new FIFA each year, and some would prefer the company to instead follow the model used by games such as GTA Online and focus on releasing content updates online.
Well, it sounds like EA is having a serious think about doing something like that with FIFA, after its CEO Andrew Wilson indicated such a situation is on the cards.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Wilson was asked:
“Would there ever come a day when you don’t release new titles on your franchises every year and just release online content, like Take-Two does with Grand Theft Auto?”
Here’s his response:
“The short answer is yes. There’s a few different things that have got to happen first. We do a lot in a FIFA game every year, and a lot in a Madden game. There’s a lot of code that we make available as part of the new iteration.
“But when we look at what we do in Korea or China, we don’t do it that way. There, every four years we release a new big code drop, and we offer incremental change over time.
“So what we see in Korea and China, what we see on mobile, I think there’s a world where that might also happen in other parts of our business.”
That sounds a lot like FIFA may one day skip a physical release, which after years of shifting millions of copies in shops around the world would be one hell of a change. But how, then, would FIFA work?
My guess is EA would have to first release a FIFA game with a major step-up in graphics, perhaps to coincide with the launch of the next generation of consoles. This would, theoretically, be a code base the developers feel confident would provide a solid foundation for incremental updates over the course of a few years at least.
I see FIFA Ultimate Team – the mode that brings in a billion dollars a year via the sale of FIFA Coins – working in much the same way it does now. From EA’s perspective, if it ‘aint broke, don’t fix it.
Where things might work differently is in the sale of other parts of the game. EA might turn the latest Chelsea team, for example, into a £1 microtransaction. Want the next chapter in The Journey story mode? That’s a fiver. Want to play the latest version of career mode? That’s a tenner. And maybe there’s a big update you can pay £20 for in September that does a lot of what we’ve come to expect from each new game.
This would let EA continue to make billions from FIFA, while allowing players to choose the parts of the game they want to buy – and there would be no need to fork out fifty quid for a brand new FIFA in September.
Of course, EA may decide to continue selling a full price new FIFA game each year, and when you think about how much money sales of the game bring in to the company coffers, it’s hard to see the executives making a drastic change any time soon.
But as Andrew Wilson says, “there’s a world where that might happen”.
Would you like to see EA ditch FIFA as an annual release? If so, how would you like the game to work? Let us know in the comments below.