FIFA 22 is flying off shelves already - both physically and digitally speaking, with 9.1 million players playing the game in its opening weekend.
To some, it's one of the biggest events of the year, while others really don't get the hype. The FIFA series is criticised in some circles for repackaging essentially the same game every year, with similar branding and small updates, while charging a lot of money - especially as its core demographic is a younger audience.
It's certainly true that EA doesn't even make the majority of its money from new copies of FIFA anymore. In an annual financial report, the publisher claimed it made $1.62 billion from Ultimate Team modes in EA Sports games during the 2021 financial year: that's $3,000 a minute.
Why do fans buy FIFA every year?
Many games have already moved to a rolling "Fortnite" format, allowing for in-game items to be purchased and updates made from the one game - not least Pro Evolution Soccer.
PES was renamed eFootball this year, becoming a free title more akin to a subscription service than the annual release that FIFA still operates on. There are calls from fans for EA to do the same with its flagship football title.
But as it stands, sales of FIFA 22 seem just too good to do so. One of the big reasons is the move to next-gen consoles.
With the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X both released in the past year, EA have great sales for the new consoles while offering Duel Entitlement. This allowed consumers to pick up FIFA 21 on a PS4, for example, and upgrade their copy for free, should they later purchase a PS5.
Given the upgrade in graphics from the two generations of console, EA have developed all-new gameplay for the FIFA series. Hypermotion is the big new talking point of FIFA 22, with the new graphics becoming a major reason to upgrade to the new title.
Not only this, a new FIFA game each year acts as a reset button FUT. While users spend all year competing in the game to build squads via challenges and weekly competitions, the introduction of a new version of the game acts as an entry point for those that have never played before. Equally, players who have the most exciting squads in the game don't lose interest in the game by having "completed" it, having to start from scratch every autumn.
While the debate may rage on about whether or not FIFA 22 is worth the money, the sales figures seem to confirm exactly the model that has served EA so well. It's unlikely that FIFA moves to a subscription any time soon, either...
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