In a recent interview with Bloomberg, EA’s CEO, Andrew Wilson, was asked about EA Sports titles such as Madden or FIFA moving away from annual releases. Wilson responded to the question with a hesitant yes, with a few major caveats.
It seems like, eventually, the goal is to make the usual EA Sports games into a more Games as Services-style model. But right now, the current infrastructure doesn’t quite support that shift. Wilson, for example, says that in yearly iterations for Madden and FIFA releases generally contain a lot of new code.
Take a look at any yearly EA Sports game, and you’ll see that despite online humor, these games aren’t just yearly roster updates. Oftentimes, releases with come with engine an/or gameplay updates, or even new modes and features. This year’s Longshot mode, for example, was a huge effort in expanding what the Madden software structure is capable of running.
Wilson then says that in other markets, such as China and Korea, things do resemble more of a service model. He says EA changes the games incrementally and do larger content releases rougly every four years. It’s also noted that EA updates its mobile sports games rather than dropping separate, new releases every year.
Ultimately, the takeaway here is that things aren’t ever as simple as they seem, especially in games.