Same FIFA, Different Year
Every year soccer fans from around the world buy the latest edition of FIFA despite the fact that, for all intents and purposes, they seem to be buying an almost identical version of the game they already have. The unrelenting popularity of the franchise and the passion of its fanbase are, some might say, exploited by Electronic Arts. It’s not easy to see exactly why so many gamers chose to spend their hard earned money on FIFA and likewise the updates are not so obvious. Nonetheless, between watching top flight matches on Hesgoal soccer, fans are more than happy to invest their time and money in the latest FIFA.
With every iteration of FIFA, EA tells the world is has “revolutionised” the gameplay. This usually means slight tweaks to the defensive AI or a change in how speed of passing or sprinting affects the game. Players themselves can be left wondering if such changes are quite as wholesale as advertised and may even wonder why they continue to spend so much money on a game which they essentially already have.
Many of the game modes are neglected and hardly touched. Career mode is the most infamous example of this practice. CM has a small but very passionate fanbase online who yearn for something new. They are so into it that they keep coming back for more just to find that with almost every FIFA the mode remains completely the same. They wish for logical changes to improve the experience, like stadium construction, advertising deals and better cut-scenes but these improvements are hardly ever forthcoming. Many of these features were on FIFA in the 90s and 00s and would seemingly be easy to put back into the game, yet EA choses not to.
The only area which gets regular attention is FUT (FIFA Ultimate Team) and a cynic might suggest that the only reason for this is that FUT is the cash cow. It’s a game mode riddled with microtransactions. It’s essentially a casino for 9-year-olds who open packs to try to get better players for their online squad. It’s a pay-to-win model in the extreme and a tiresome money spinner but its enduring popularity shows no sign of slowing down.
EA know that despite complaints most FIFA fans will go out and buy the latest edition every year, and for that reason laziness seems to have set in with the development. It’s a widely talked about problem in the online community but for which a solution doesn’t seem to be in sight. The author of this very article might harp on about the fact that FIFA is just the same game every year with updated kits and a few more face models but still, they will buy it.
Until the fans vote with their wallets, EA Sports are unlikely to improve or “revolutionise” their flagship game.