“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,” Electronic Arts Chief Executive Officer Andrew Wilson said to Bloomberg. That statement sent gamers into a tizzy with thoughts of not having to pick up a new copy of Madden every August followed closely and predictably by complaints that there’s no reason for yearly releases.
Of course, gamers are going to complain, that’s just what they do, but the notion of a Madden game that’s, as Wilson said, “a 365-day, live service,” isn’t going to be a seismic wave in the game industry, it’s gaming finally catching up to where it needs to be in the digital age. Buying a base game, then adding features onto it, a la carte could save developers money in the long run, and more importantly, save consumers some cash too.
Of course, in the age of loot boxes and microtransactions, being cynical is a default setting. As someone who almost exclusively plays Franchise Mode, I fear being nickel and dimed for items within the franchise mode itself if it were stand alone, but if Madden was fair in what it provides as a service, it would certainly entice more gamers to throw money at EA Sports year over year, rather than the typical “I’ll skip this year” approach to most sports game.
Madden 18 specifically approached this year in a “something for everyone” fashion. They refined three different ways to play on the field — Arcade, Simulation, and Competitive. They released LongShot story mode, which at least made my wife care about the game for the first time ever, and of course, cash-cow Madden Ultimate Team returned. But what if a gamer exclusively wanted to continue on with the well-made LongShot story mode next year, and only had to drop $20? It would certainly make purchasing choices easier during the holiday rush of game releases.