EA Sports titles like FIFA, Madden, and PGA Tour have a dedicated fanbase who buy the new iterations every year. However, some fans have started questioning whether these annual releases with minimal changes are still worth full price.
Take the EA Sports FIFA franchise for example. The soccer simulation series has been around since 1993, enthralling fans for decades. Many loyal players eagerly buy the new version annually, having sunk hundreds of hours into each game.
Despite this passion, a common criticism is that the core gameplay remains largely the same year after year. While EA makes small tweaks and enhances the visuals, the on-field action feels repetitive to some. With the sport itself not undergoing major rule changes frequently, EA’s hands are somewhat tied.
To their credit, the developer has added modes like FIFA Ultimate Team and The Journey story mode in recent years to evolve the experience. However, cynics argue these exist primarily to drive engagement and microtransaction spending rather than innovation. Perhaps it’s time for EA Sports to reconsider their release approach. Given the incremental nature of the changes, charging full price annually for what feels like a roster update rubs some fans the wrong way.
Instead, EA could take a page from the playbook of games like Fortnite and Apex Legends. These titles are offered as ongoing live service games with regular content updates and battle passes. Players can stick with one base game for longer, paying for new seasons and cosmetics a la carte.
Adopting this games-as-a-service model could enable EA to lower upfront pricing and reduce the feeling of paying full fare for the same fundamental experience. More significant gameplay evolutions could still be packaged into paid expansions or sequels every few years for those wanting massive leaps.
Ultimately, the annualized release cadence has worked well for EA Sports financially. But paying heed to fan frustrations could help strengthen their bonds with players. Rethinking pricing and update strategies could demonstrate that they value fans’ feedback and money.