FIFA fans may be used to a new game coming out every year, but that could soon be about to change.
In a recent interview with Bloomberg, EA’s CEO, Andrew Wilson, hinted the publisher could move away from an annual release cycle and towards an update and subscriptions model.
“The greatest disruptor to the consumption of entertainment media in the last five years has been the combination of streaming plus subscription,” Wilson said.
“It’s changed the way we watch television. It’s changed the way we listen to music. It’s changed the way I read books.
“There’s a world where it gets easier and easier to move that code around — where we may not have to do an annual release.
“We can really think about those games as a 365-day, live service.”
Interestingly, EA looks to have already dipped its toes in the water.
Although the Madden NFL Mobile game is now three years old, it’s been continually updated at the start of every season – essentially creating a new game.
The Frostbite engine was tweaked for FIFA 18, but arguably there were only very minor adjustments in animation and visual presentation.
EA Vancouver would have to re-write the entire code altogether to see a dramatic difference – something we can’t see happening for a good few years yet.
This, coupled with a greater number of gamers favouring digital game downloads over physical copies, could sway EA into ditching boxed copies and releasing a ‘FIFA 19’ patch instead.
This would work by updating rosters, faces and form – much like the patches we’re seeing in FIFA 18’s cycle, only bigger.
It could even add a third season on to The Journey.
Streaming games is fast becoming more popular.
GeForce Now – a subscription-based service on the Nvidia Shield – offers a ‘Netflix for Games’, where the unit taps into cloud processing to ‘play’ hundreds of titles.
EA Access, which also uses a subscription model, offers members a chance to trial some of the latest games – as well as play a number of older titles in EA’s portfolio.
It could only be a matter of time before the next FIFA game is a subscription-based service, rather than a traditional release.
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