In a recent interview with Bloomberg, Andrew Wilson of EA discussed the future of their annual sports titles and the possibility that they may not be annual releases in the near future. However, don't expect it to happen any time soon: "There's a few things that have got to happen first", Wilson explained. On PC, that subscription service takes the form of Origin Access, which costs $4.99 per month and allows gamers to play much of EA's library of games. It's followed by updated National Hockey League and Federation Internationale de Football Association games a month later, and the latest NBA Live (when it's not on the bench) typically launches in October.
Although we now receive new installments of popular sports series such as Madden, FIFA, and National Hockey League on a yearly basis, new comments from EA suggest that this business model might not continue to be the norm in the future. "But [in Korea or China] we don't do it that way; about every four years we release a big new code drop and we offer incremental change over time".
"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".
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But as it pertains specifically to sports video games, perhaps Wilson's idea is an indication that game designers simply are running out of ideas, and they know it. He suggests that EA could one day begin to offer these games as a "365-day, live service", meaning that they'll be frequently updated to better emulate the sports leagues they're based on. The EA CEO argued that there's a lot to consider when it comes to streaming games.
Wilson also admitted that the greatest disruptor in entertainment media in the last five years has been the combination of both streaming and subscription.
"When we design a game that lives in a true streaming world, we have to think about screen size and session time", he said. In fact, it has already done this with Madden NFL Mobile for the past three years and Wilson notes that the game's user base continues to grow. "How does that manifest on your 60-inch TV, an hour at a time".