The annual releases of the popular Madden and FIFA games of EA Sports may soon be replaced by a subscription model, which makes sense for Electronic Arts and sports video games in general.
The video game industry has been trending away from physical discs to online downloads, including for the full games, their updates, and downloadable content. The sports video games industry has been a part of this trend, but an even bigger change might be on its way.
Say Goodbye Soon To Annual Madden And FIFA Games
Every year, EA Sports releases a new version of its Madden and FIFA titles, such as this year's Madden NFL 18 and FIFA 18. The annual updates usually add gameplay tweaks, roster updates, and in some years, a new mode or two.
Many sports game fans, however, view the updates as relatively minor, especially when compared to the sequels of titles in other genres. Fortunately, Electronic Arts will soon be fixing that.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson said that there will soon be no more annual releases of Madden and FIFA, with the games instead moving to a subscription model with online updates.
"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," Wilson said, adding that the games can be viewed as a 365-day live service.
Wilson also said that he sees a "new big code drop" about every four years, which would mean a new version of Madden and FIFA after such a time. Incremental changes, which will cover what currently changes in between annual releases, will instead be rolled out through online updates.
Will This Change Be Good For Gamers?
By moving to a subscription model, EA Sports and other sports video games companies will be freed from the development strain of having to release a new version of their titles every year. New modes and features will receive enough time in development and testing before they are rolled out. A subscription model will also keep the money coming in, as evidenced by the rise of Grand Theft Auto V as the best-selling video game in the United States.
This means that gamers will receive the new modes and features in near-perfect form, instead of being bug-filled due to being rushed through development.
Wilson, however, did not offer a specific timetable for when Madden and FIFA will become subscriptions services. The executive also did not provide a suggested price for the service, but it will likely hold more value compared to having to buy a new game every year that only offered incremental updates.