How would you feel if Electronic Arts suddenly decided that Madden and FIFA weren’t going to be yearly releases anymore? Those two game series have seen yearly releases for quite some time now, and while some players accept that this is the way sports games works, others lament the fact that they need to buy a new game every year just to stay up-to-date with things like roster changes. Regardless of how you feel, Electronic Arts chief Andrew Wilson envisions a future where his company may drop yearly Madden and FIFA releases.
In a new interview with Bloomberg, Wilson talks about the possibility of making EA’s sports games a little more long-lasting. He suggests that EA could one day begin to offer these games as a “365-day, live service,” meaning that they’ll be frequently updated to better emulate the sports leagues they’re based on.
Of course, if EA does decide to change the way it publishes and distributes its sports games, there would likely be additional cost for consumers associated with that. Given the current trends of the video game industry, we could potentially see games like Madden and FIFA one day based around subscription services, where players pay a monthly fee to receive consistent updates.
EA is no stranger to subscription services. On PC, that subscription service takes the form of Origin Access, which costs $4.99 per month and allows gamers to play much of EA’s library of games. The most recent EA titles aren’t included in Origin Access until a certain amount of time after launch, thereby encouraging those who want to play a new release right away to pay outright for it.
This is pure speculation on my part, but it’s possible that persistent Madden and FIFA titles could be added to EA’s existing subscription services at a premium price, much in the same way that Hulu offers channels like HBO at an additional monthly cost. In the end, the route EA ultimately chooses is anyone’s guess, but for the time being, Madden and FIFA will likely stick with their yearly release schedules. Still, don’t be surprised if we see those franchises make the transition from yearly series to games as a service sometime soon.