In a recent conversation with Bloomberg Technology, Electronic Arts Chief Executive Officer Andrew Wilson said there may be a time when video game publishers don’t release annual versions of such games as FIFA 18 and Madden NFL 18, but instead rely on online updates or some sort of subscription service.
In the interview, Wilson was asked about the idea of a subscription service like Netflix existing for games, as we haven’t seen one exist yet. That’s when Wilson broke off and discussed the possibilities of shifting away from yearly releases on some titles. “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,” he said. “We can really think about those games as a 365-day, live service.”
When it comes to Madden, this is something that many fans have suggested the studio do for some time, and something that they’ve been doing in the mobile world. Madden NFL Mobile released three years ago, yet it doesn’t release new versions, but instead just overhauls the current version at the beginning of each new NFL season. According to Wilson, the user base for the game has grown, but there are challenges to shifting to an “online only” game.
“When we design a game that lives in a true streaming world, we have to think about screen size and session time,” he said. “How does a Madden game that exists in the cloud manifest on your mobile phone, one minute at a time? How does that manifest on your 60-inch TV, an hour at a time.”
Obviously, the situation is a bit trickier and requires some more thought, but it is interesting that someone as high up as Wilson already had these things in his head. It’ll likely be a couple of Madden iterations before we see any true change like this, but if and when we do, EA’s handling of it will be watched very carefully.
[Source: Bloomberg Technology]