According to EA Sports' VP Andrew Wilson, the future is bright...and probably filled with subscriptions. Talking to Eurogamer yesterday, Wilson suggested that there will 'absolutely' come a time when consumers will want to follow a subscriptions model, paying fees monthly or annually to 'access' EA Sports content.
If we look at what consumers have pushed other industries for: if we look at what consumers forced the music industry to provide, if we look at what consumers have driven as a result of television and movie subscription, if you look at us - there's absolutely a time somewhere at some point in the future where the consumers say, 'Hey, this is how we want to interact with you: we want to give you a monthly or annual subscription and we want access to everything you make'.
They get to drive the time and place for it, and a lot of it is technology dependent, but absolutely we can see a future where that might be the way we deliver games. - Andrew Wilson, EA Sports
Of course, we gamers tend to go into apoplectic rage whenever someone mentions the 'S' word, but from a business perspective it at least makes a certain amount of sense. EA Sports is largely built upon annual franchises such as Madden and FIFA, and the Online Pass already features heavily in such games. Subscriptions would be yet another way for retail control to be centralised, something that would no doubt appeal to EA, who've just launched their own digital distribution service in Origin.
If EA sweeten the pot with extras then it might just work. Revamping the process to deliver what we already have (or less - splitting up content with tiered packages to make more money would be lamentable, but DLC has hardly been a shining beacon of moral economics) would create something of an outcry...you'd hope.
The point is moot for the moment, though, as Wilson notes. 'It's less about the generation and more about internet infrastructure,' he said. 'The thing about consoles [is] that's a lot of content: six, seven gigs of information. Right now there are some places in the world where you can move that size of information around relatively seamlessly; there are a lot of places you can't. Right now the consoles themselves could facilitate it, but there are other barriers to entry that make getting it from Game or GameStop a viable proposition, at least today.'
Sound off in the comments, you know you want to.