Though such a radical transition is still some way off, the senior VP of worldwide development at Electronic Arts has hinted that the FIFA series will at some stage have to move away from the annual disc release model.
“I think there are two things at play,” Andrew Wilson told Games Industry. “The first is the business model. There will come a time where the consumer is simply not prepared to pay $60 up-front for a game anymore, the same way they have said that for movies and music and television.
“That's one thing. And then I think it's the global infrastructure that facilitates the shift. As soon as technology provides a viable alternative to a disc, then that process will change.”
When will this change occur? That depends on two things – internet speeds and consumer behaviour.
“I think the most convenient way for the consumer to get 7GB worth of FIFA these days is still to buy it on a disc,” Wilson stated. “That will change.
“I think that Football Club this year is turning the FIFA you buy on a disc into a live service that changes every day and every week that you play. Over time, based on consumer feedback, those chunks that we deliver on that day-to-day, week-to-week basis are going to get bigger, and the releases that we do on an annual basis are going to get smaller, and ultimately you end up in a place where we are delivering a true, consumer-driven live digital service.
“We're building architecture and infrastructure to facilitate a time when the pipes into consumer homes are big enough to move that kind of data around.”