Electronic Arts EA, the company that owns "FIFA," "Battlefield" and "Need For Speed," announced that 73% of its revenues come from “videogames as a service,” according to GamesIndustry. These titles stay active over time thanks to content updates and free or paid DLC releases.
'FIFA' and 'Madden NFL:' Electronic Arts’ Battle Horses
The most highlighted games in the report were "FIFA 23" and "Madden NFL;" both are sports simulators with a strong online presence.
"FIFA 23" is mainly known for its “FUT” mode (FIFA Ultimate Team), where users create their own teams from scratch and compete in online tournaments or play against the AI to improve the squad, stadium, and the club in general.
Users get the players by opening “envelopes” of different categories, including “gold” “silver” and “bronze.” The key of this feature lies in the fact that gamers never know which players are included in each envelope. The progression is first based on luck and then on the gamer’s performance in the tournaments.
Although opening envelopes is free (using coins obtained by playing games) there is the possibility of using real money to open more and better envelopes and here lies the “game-as-a-service” component. However, the “Pay-to-Win” modality is frowned upon among gamers.
The last release of the franchise was "FIFA 23," available for sale since September 27, 2022 for Sony SONY PlayStation consoles, Microsoft MSFT Xbox and PC. During the first week of the release, the game accumulated more than 10 million users in the virtual fields, according to VGC. After four weeks in the market, EA announced that it had sold 10% more units in relation to the same period of "FIFA 22."
On the other hand, EA’s football simulator, "Madden NFL," has added features similar to FIFA’s Ultimate Team, and according to the company’s recent report, “the net reserves increased by two digits” in relation to the last year.
The New Feature Of "Sims 4:" Free to Play
One of the most important titles of EA is "Sims 4," which has now jumped from the premium format ($20 cost) to the Free to Play format on all platforms (PlayStation, Xbox and PC.)
According to EA CEO Andrew Wilson, almost 90% of incomes came from extra content, and not from the base game, in the last 12 months.
"Sims 4" is almost a decade old: It was released in September 2014 and it included more than 20 contents to download and dozens of updates of free content. This simulator changed entirely its mechanics and progression systems and it even improved many negative performance aspects of consoles and PCs.
This year, "Sims 4" got the expansion of “High School Years” with a new world and several activities for the life of the teenage sims. It also added a “Werewolves” content pack with a unique location and wolves-related theme that also crosses over narratively with past DLCs such as “Vampires” and “Kingdom of Magic.”
Andrew Wilson is no stranger to the time that has passed since the release of the original version and he believes that the jump into the Free to Play model was made “at the right time”.
Gamers’ Preferences: Digital Over Physical
In EA's last report, Crhistopher Suh, executive VP and operations director, highlighted the fact that digital titles sales represented 66% of the company’s units sold in the last 12 months.
The figure translates into a 5% increase in comparison with last year, which evidences the fact that gamers prefer the digital format over the physical one.
Videogames As A Service
As videogame productions become more and more expensive, videogame companies are looking for shortcuts to get the revenues to survive. One of the most popular options is the development of video games as a service.
Companies such as Microsoft MSFT, jumped into the Game Pass development, a subscription service that allows users to access a huge catalog of titles to play from PC to Xbox consoles (in some cases, even without the need to download anything and play on the cloud.)
On the other hand, not only has Sony SONY renewed its subscription service PlayStation Plus, but also it has acquired Bungie for $3.6 billion. With this acquisition, Sony has taken over "Destiny," one of the most relevant franchises of the games-as-a-service segment. A recent report has also shown the development of an MMO based on the universe of "Horizon" from Guerrilla Games, according to IGN.
Ubisoft UBSFF also has plans to dive into the world of games-as-a-service, and it will do so with "Assassin’s Creed Infinity," a title that has presented itself as the next-generation HUB that will open the doors for all future experiences with "Assassin’s Creed."
In the meantime, two years after the release of "Assassin’s Creed Valhalla" in 2020, this game has not stopped receiving content (paid and free) and keeps fresh the voyage that embarked the most users in the saga: more than 20 million.
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