FIFA's release to the EA Access has become a spring rite of passage for sports fans, usually coinciding with the release of Ultimate Team's Team of the Season cards. But FIFA 18 appears to be late.
Update - 25/09/2018: FIFA 18 is still not available in the vault for EA Access. As of today, FIFA 19 is playable if you buy the Ultimate or Champions version of the game, yet last year's FIFA still isn't in the vault for EA's subscription service on Xbox One. EA had announced that FIFA 18 would arrive in the EA Access Vault before the end of September.
Despite being out for nearly nine months now, FIFA 18 is nowhere to be seen on EA's subscription service, in which older games are made available free to subscribers through "the Vault." Typically EA follows a fairly regular schedule, with the release of sports games like Madden coinciding with major events such as the Super Bowl.
Today's FIFA 18 World Cup DLC release would appear to have been the perfect time to put it in the Vault, but it has yet to appear. And EA is keeping the release date close to its vest even as fans inundate the publisher with inquiries on social media channels like Twitter.
Hey Timothy, thanks for the awesome question. There is currently no announced date for Fifa 18 on EA Access. Keep an eye on our social media channels and newsletter so you'll be the first to know when it does. -Neil— EA Help (@EAHelp) May 23, 2018
When we reached out to EA ourselves, we were told the publisher has nothing to announce at this time. When it does arrive, this will be the latest Vault release for the series since EA Access first launched in July 2014. Both FIFA 16 and 17 arrived in April.
Some cynical fans are suggesting that EA is hoping to use the free DLC to sell additional copies of the game, but it's also likely that EA is simply waiting for the World Cup to properly begin so they can give their service an extra push. That would put FIFA 18's release to EA Access around June 14, when Russia kicks off against Saudi Arabia.
The EA Access Vault currently contains more than 50 Xbox One and Xbox 360 games, with last year's Madden, NBA, and NBA Live games all being released in the past few months. The subscription service offers early access to EA games as well as sales discounts to Xbox One owners.
In the meantime, FIFA 18's World Cup DLC is now live; and while it's had some problems with bugs and other issues, it's a pretty solid slice of free content. It includes all of the World Cup teams, a new frontend, a mini-Ultimate Team with exclusive cards, and even the ability to put countries like the USA in the World Cup. You can read our FUT World Cup 2018 guide here.
The DLC is the last hurrah for FIFA 18, as EA will soon be formally revealing FIFA 19 and spinning up the hype cycle anew. That's a shame for those waiting patiently for the EA Access release, but hopefully the wait won't be too much longer. You can check out our FIFA 18 review in the meantime.