Should EA Drop Annual FIFA Release In Favor of a Subscription-Based Model?
There are a lot of successful examples in the game industry regarding the game’s featuring subscription-based model or service based model like World Of Warcraft. FIFA is one of the most popular annual franchises for EA along with Madden NFL and every year EA Sports roll put a new installment of FIFA and each new installment being better the previous one and here we will discuss if EA should shift FIFA to a subscription-based game or not.
Aside from the visual definitely, UI, and a bit more changes, the new FIFA entry doesn’t differentiate much from its previous entry and that is why we think that EA should ditch the annual release in favor of a subscription-based model a or service based model.
Should EA Shift Towards Subscription-Based Model For FIFA
First, let’s discuss what a subscription-based model is and then we will take a look at how EA can implement it in FIFA games and how it will impact the franchise and its popular game mode, Ultimate Team, and recently added singleplayer campaign.
Subscription Based Model is very simple, you pay a monthly fee and have access to the game and its live services, however, you have to buy the game first which is separate from the subscription itself and developers roll out new updates and patches for the game that improve it further. All of the subscription-based games more or less follow the same rule.
At first glance, it will seem like the subscription-based game will cost more than the annual release but, if we dig deeper into details you will notice that subscription-based FIFA model just might be better than the annual release.
Before we start, EA has recently teased that it might ditch yearly FIFA release for a subscription-based model. According to EA chief Andrew Wilson, EA might drop the yearly release development cycle for titles like FIFA, Madden NHL, and NFL in favor of a game as a service model.
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. We can really think about those games as a 365-day, live service.
With that out of the way let’s discuss the impact of subscription-based service on FIFA’s popular game mode, Ultimate Team, and its singleplayer mode.
FIFA Ultimate Team
Ultimate Team is the most popular game mode for FIFA players. In this game mode players start with some basic soccer players and players have to collect their favorite players to make up their dream team. Players can use this team to play with other players and in offline matches.
However, there is one downside to the Ultimate Team in the yearly FIFA releases which is that when players have been playing FIFA 17 and they have created their dream team and 18 drops the next year and players aren’t able to import their FUT team to the next iteration in the franchise and have to start from the zero in the latest title.
With the subscription-based model, players will not have to face this issue that there will one game that will be updated and patched with new features and bug fixes and they will not lose their dream team in FUT and players will no longer have to start from scratch every year to grind or use microtransactions to build the soccer team of their dream.
Microtransactions have been implemented in video games for quite sometimes and EA recently suffered the wrath of the gaming community over Star Wars Battlefront 2 loot box controversy.
With the subscription-based model for FIFA, there is a chance that EA will drop the microtransactions in the game and everyone will have an equal chance of getting a player in the FIFA Ultimate Team as everyone else.
This, in turn, will make things balanced for all the players in the game as everyone will have to grind equally to get their desired player instead of opening up loot boxes and hope that they get their favorite player.
EA Sports introduced “The Journey” mode to FIFA 17 making it the very first FIFA title to include a singleplayer campaign that followed the journey of Alex Hunter. Its sequel continued the story of the Alex Hunter with its singleplayer campaign.
With the subscription model for FIFA, EA will still be able to continue to the story or include new singleplayer content as an expansion that players can buy if they want to play it. In this way, EA Sports will be able to continue the single-player campaign without meddling with other components of the game.
Introducing a subscription-based model also makes sense financially. Instead of paying $60 every year for a new FIFA title, EA Sports could ask for a meager monthly price which players can pay anytime they want to play and enjoy the game.
However, for the hardcore FIFA fans, the cost will increase for example if the monthly subscription is $5, then the yearly cost for them will increase which is separate from the expansions and if the monetization plans remain the same for FUT, then the cost will increase significantly for the Hardcore FIFA fans.
But, this could be counteracted with a 3-month, 6-month or a yearly subscription plans which cost less compared to the monthly subscription plans.
Content is the main thing that developers need to roll out constantly to justify the monthly fee for the game. If the FIFA moves to the subscription-based model then we could be seeing developer’s focus shifting towards rolling out now content instead of gameplay which could potentially undermine the tried and tested gameplay of the FIFA franchise.
Also, with the shift to the subscription model, EA Sports will not necessarily need to have multiple studios working on it at the same time and can shift the development team on other projects that require that much manpower.
What Is Stopping EA From Implementing It
The Ultimate Team is the very hurdle that could potentially stop EA From making FIFA a subscription based games. Why? you might ask. Well, FIFA Ultimate Team makes EA approximately $800 million annually through microtransactions and EA might not let go of that revenue stream.
Do you think FIFA should move towards a subscription-based model? Is there anything you like to add? Let us know in the comments.