Ever since DLC and the rise of digital added content for games became a mainstay of the gaming scene, there have been those who wonder why many games persist with annual, or discrete releases for updated versions, rather than simply releasing those updates as DLC. Fighting games and sports games have drawn this sort of ire the most- and while fighting games have moved towards the ‘games as a service’ model this past generation, we still continue to get annual releases for sports games every year, led by EA’s E Sports lineup of FIFA, Madden, and much else.
However, in the future, that might change- in the future, updates to the games might just become ‘service updates’ pushed to gamers online. Speaking to Bloomberg, EA CEO Andrew Wilson admitted that that was definitely a future direction the publisher was exploring.
“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. The greatest disruptor to the consumption of entertainment media in the last five years has been the combination of streaming plus subscription. It’s changed the way we watch television, the way we listen to music, and the way I read books.”
I do think that would be the smart thing to do- and for the lower income markets, or countries with poorer internet engagement and connectivity (but countries where games like FIFA are nonetheless hugely popular- like India and Brazil), EA could still package and bundle updates, press them on disc, and sell them as a discrete physical release. That would be an option- having options is nice.
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