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Wilson: Gamers won’t always fork out $60 for FIFA updates

Thursday, 21st July 2011 23:33 GMT By Brenna Hillier

EA Sports’ senior vice president of worldwide development Andrew Wilson has said FIFA’s not far from shedding its annual update business model.

“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. That will change,” Wilson told GamesIndustry at Develop.

“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.”

In his Develop presentation, Wilson outlined Football Club, a new service granting players a single, persistant online identity across every version of FIFA on every platform. This connectedness will eventually replace FIFA’s famous annual releases, Wilson said.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Not that EA Sports doesn’t intend to keep pushing the boundaries with graphics, features and performance when it can.

“The things we’re doing today on PlayStation 3 we never thought we could do on the PlayStation 2 because we never thought we’d have the processing power to do them,” the executive noted.

“The granularity and the finesse in the game now is largely a result of increased processing power, so when I think about the future and ask, can we make a better game? I don’t know, but technology will certainly help.”

Wilson outlined his mildly whimsical dreams for the future of FIFA.

“I have two big dreams: one that I think will come true, and one that I think won’t,” he said.

“The one that I think will come true is that through technology we’ll be able to put full control of the game experience in the hand of the consumer; that they govern what we build, how we build it, what they play and how they play it. I think that’s the shift, and we get much better data now than we ever did before, through online connectivity, that allows us to fine-tune the experience to their demands.

“The second dream is that what I do in my FIFA game actually affects the real world. I would love it if I played well with Chelsea on Friday night, that they play better on Sunday. I don’t think that one happens, but the first one does.”

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