EA CEO: It's only a matter of time before games embrace subscription services

Evolving tech and the rise of subscription-based services could change how EA handles its annual titles like Madden NFL and FIFA.
"The notion that [subscription streaming services] wouldn't impact our industry, I think, is naive. Will it take a little bit longer? Yes, for a whole bunch of reasons [like] file size, level of interactivity, and design."

-Andrew Wilson paints a picture of what subscription streaming services in video games will look like

EA CEO Andrew Wilson says that the rise of subscription streaming services has been "the greatest disruptor" in entertainment media in recent years, and notes that it's only a matter of time before the video game industry is changed by the model as well.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Wilson lightly theorized how that change might manifest within EA's own annual titles like Madden NFL or FIFA in the near future. For one, Wilson says the annual game release may become a thing of the past as technology develops to make significant, incremental game changes for subscribers a better option for both developers and players.

“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 explained to Bloomberg. “We can really think about those games as a 365-day, live service.”

He says that mobile platforms have already adopted the subscription-based model in a way that offers value to both the subscription and the company offering the subscription. While much of that is in relation to non-game apps like Spotify or dating services, Wilson says that the EA is looking at apps like that for ways to evolve beyond the free-to-play model largely embraced by mobile games into something more subscription-like for games on the platform as well.

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