EA Chief Andrew Wilson mentioned in an interview that the publisher could drop yearly sports titles in favor of “365 day subscriptions.” While no pricing or structure was mentioned, Wilson explained that the shift from disc to more digital outlets was a reasoning for the change. This would allow EA to treat games as a service, adding details or minor updates throughout the year instead of requiring a whole new game for minor 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 told Bloomberg TV host Emily Chang on her show “Studio 1.0.” “We can really think about those games as a 365-day, live service.”
EA’s main argument is easily the Madden release on mobile. The game released a few years ago, but has had constant yearly updates every time a new season starts. It allows players to keep their profiles and still play with updated rosters and new features that have come out, instead of splitting the user base between several releases.
This of course can be exciting for fans of the many different series of titles. I’ve mentioned many times in my reviews for the NHL series that the team simply isn’t big enough to make drastic leaps in yearly iterations, and smaller yearly jumps at a fee would be welcoming. It also allows you to keep your profile and settings all intact within a game, without having to restart everything from scratch just to get some new features.
When technology and the game engine advances far enough for a more drastic change THAT’S when we should get a new full title release. A new release would signal “hey, we made bigger advancements!” Plus, as suggested above, it would help prevent a split user base between friends that don’t want to buy the new game every year.
The bad side to these remarks, however, is EA doesn’t mention how it will work or how much it will cost. Granted, it sounds like he’s just spitballing the idea, so avoiding specifics makes sense, but it’s still something worth wondering about.
If this service costs the same, or more, as a new game then it entirely defeats the purpose. Will you pay $120 for a single game that is getting “minor updates” throughout the year? However if it’s priced at say $60 for the game and $30-40 for the season 2 pass, then we might have a good deal. However why would EA give up the easy money? Madden and FIFA both sell enough units to put them the charts and make EA a lot of money, so there is no reason to cut them out. Meanwhile a series like NHL could very well benefit from the idea.
While I don’t agree with EA’s dream of an all-digital future, I can say this season pass style of sports games does indeed sound interesting. What do you think, let us know in the comments or on our social pages.