The soccer game FIFA is one of Electronic Arts’ biggest franchises, especially outside the U.S. The latest iteration, FIFA 13, sold 4.5 million copies in its first 5 days; EA called it the biggest launch in the history of sports games.
It’s one of the last games that Electronic Arts is still releasing on Nintendo’s aging Wii hardware. But buyers of this year’s footy sim got a nasty surprise: EA didn’t bother developing a new version. On Wii, FIFA 13 is identical to last year’s FIFA 12.
Yes, the uniforms and players have been updated to match this year’s rosters, the website Nintendo Gamer reported. But otherwise, it’s a re-release of the same game with a new number on the box: The same gameplay modes, character models, graphics, menu screens, dialogue. And the same $50 price tag.
It doesn’t stop there: Other fans of the sport say that FIFA 13 on PlayStation Vita is essentially identical to FIFA Football, the game that Electronic Arts released six months prior, at the launch of the new Sony gaming handheld.
Yeah, that's heinous. But wait, there's a new soundtrack!
I've said this before, but when publishers do shit like this, is it any wonder that we don't feel guilty buying and selling used games? Why do they expect a good faith relationship to be a one-way street?
Wait, this might be even better (thanks to Eric B., who brought this to my attention). From PC Gamer:
Future Ubisoft games could offer in-game purchases after taking an initial $60 chomp of your wallet. GamesBeat says during an investor call, Ubisoft CFO Alain Martinez and Worldwide Online Director Stéphanie Perotti acknowledged the “flexibility” of free-to-play business models and the “opportunity” for full-priced games offering microtransactional items.
“Free-to-play is a very flexible business model,” Perotti said. “The player has the capability to spend more than in a traditional model. We can control everything from the pricing to marketing as if we were an online store.”
“With games like Watch Dogs, we could see more opportunity for $60 games to learn from the free-to-play model,” Martinez added. “The next generation will offer more and more item-based content. This will benefit our games’ profitability.”
Isn't that amazing? Hey, good luck on those $60 games with microtransactions, Ubisoft. It's going to go as well for you as that PC always-on DRM strategy. Titanic, Ho!
This is why I've stopped caring whether any of these companies survive. Their incompetence and greed has destroyed the traditional retail ecosystem. Not piracy. Not used games. This is not dinosaurs getting destroyed by an exogenous event. It's strip farming, followed by starvation when the soil is depleted.