Sports video games have been a yearly staple for as long as I can remember. Roster changes, stadium updates, and more are packaged into the yearly releases and are stacked upon gameplay updates that vary in their impact. Gamers are no strangers to subscriptions and sports games have seemed like a fitting genre to shift into the subscription model. EA's CEO Andrew Wilson agrees and envisions Madden or FIFA releases that rely on updates or subscriptions for the long term.
“The greatest disruptor to the consumption of entertainment media in the last five years has been the combination of streaming plus subscription,” Wilson said to Bloomberg. “It’s changed the way we watch television. It’s changed the way we listen to music. It’s changed the way I read books.”
The shift to digital consumption is already well underway in gaming, something noted by Phil Spencer when he declared Microsoft would introduce a console-less game service. With this shift has come larger hard drives to facilitate a transition to a new model and sports games could find a regular home there. Massive, game-changing patches in addition to player and team updates are certainly possible and make a lot more sense than asking players to drop $60 each year for occasionally rudimentary updates in Madden, FIFA, or any other sports title.
“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.” “We can really think about those games as a 365-day, live service.”