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.
"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?