EA Pondering Madden or FIFA as a "Live Service", Instead of Annual Releases

There will come a time where we don't see a new boxed FIFA or Madden each year.

News by Mike Williams, .

In a world where games are becoming perennially updated, is there really a need to release a full entry for Madden NFL and FIFA every year? That's the question Electronic Arts has been asking itself. The news comes via an interview Bloomberg conducted with EA CEO Andrew Wilson.

Ultimate Team doesn't really need tech updates.

"The short answer is 'Yes'," said Wilson when asked about the possibility of switching to online updates for its sports titles instead of annual releases. "There's a few things that's gotta happen first."

Wilson explained that EA operates in a similar way in certain regions of the world already, notably South Korea and China. There, EA releases FIFA every four years, offering incremental updates in between to keep player rosters up-to-date. "I think there's a world where that might also happen in other parts of our business," said Wilson.

"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 added in an off-camera answer. "We can really think about those games as a 365-day, live service."

Eventually, it's likely that EA comes to a point where the technology upgrades become more costly for an annual release with no major return on investment. As FIFA and Madden Ultimate Team continue to rule the roost, it may be fiscally smarter to offer roster updates for a small fee each year or the publisher could simply transition to a subscription service. Hell, imagine all the ways EA could nickle and dime players with updates! Teams, stadiums, more single-player campaign stuff! The sky is the limit.

Are you ready or fearful for the day when EA turns Madden and FIFA into full services?

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Comments 6

  • Avatar for KaiserWarrior #1 KaiserWarrior 5 months ago
    Sports games have been the butt of "all they did was update some numbers!" jokes for a long time now. EA themselves acknowledging that is just kind of... I dunno. Expected seems like too strong of a word, I need something more blasé.

    You can bet your buns they'd still charge full price for the yearly roster updates.
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  • Avatar for Wellman2nd #2 Wellman2nd 5 months ago
    On one hand, this is better for consumers.

    On the other hand, EA will probably mess this up for the consumers by charging $50 - $60 for the expansion/update .

    In the end, if you don't have the internet or a good connection, you are probably screwed but that is how it is for most things game related anyway.
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  • Avatar for Vodka-Tonic #3 Vodka-Tonic 5 months ago
    "Get the latest Nike football boots for your Madden or FIFA team; available now, for only $2.99." -The Near Future
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  • Avatar for Outrider #4 Outrider 5 months ago
    No! They can't do this for at least another 7 years, I want to see what they call the 2025 edition of Madden since they already used Madden 25 in 2014.

    ...but yeah, this makes a ton of sense. Honestly, the fact that Madden isn't basically following an MMO model seems kinda strange.
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  • Avatar for VotesForCows #5 VotesForCows 5 months ago
    @Outrider You really cut to the heart of the issue by highlighting the Madden 25 problem. Avoiding that is probably the entire reason they're going to go games-as-service :o)
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  • Avatar for Captain-Gonru #6 Captain-Gonru 5 months ago
    I remember suggesting this years ago. I guess the tech finally caught up.
    It makes sense, really. In a world where Take Tow is still raking in microtransaction cash from four year old games, this almost seems reasonable.
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