Why 2014 FIFA World Cup is skipping PS4 and Xbox One
"Were we to have fixated on those we would have alienated the host nation - which wouldn't have been wise."
2014 FIFA World Cup is skipping the new generation of consoles, opting instead for a full-priced boxed product on Xbox 360 and PS3, to ensure the game can reach as broad an audience as possible, EA Sports has said.
It's a point made more pertinent by the slow take-up of the new generation of consoles in World Cup host nation Brazil, where thanks to import taxes a new PlayStation 4 costs $1850.
During a press event previewing the new game, EA Sports producer Matt Prior told Eurogamer: "We only have a certain amount of resources that we can put towards this.
"It isn't limitless. It was difficult and easy at the same time - at the end of the day, we wanted to get the game to as many people as we could. In terms of making that decision, that's an easy one. The PS3 and 360 are by far the more popular consoles, particularly in emerging territories, with Brazil being a key one of those. Were we to have fixated on PS4 / Xbox One, we would have alienated the host nation which wouldn't have been wise..."
Prior also revealed that traditionally 50 per cent of players for its tie-in event games aren't regular FIFA players. That statistic helped persuade EA to make the game a full-priced, fully-featured retail game - alongside the lukewarm reception given to its last official tournament tie-in, UEFA Euro 2012.
"We took a lot from that," said Prior. "The two main reasons we didn't do it as a DLC here - and it was driven from what we learned from Euro - was, firstly, primarily 50 per cent of our users only buy World Cup. There are a lot of people out there who only get interested in football when the World Cup comes around. So for those guys, if you do it as a DLC it's a real barrier to entry. They want to walk into a shop and pick up a packaged good off the shelf. If you do it through FIFA they've then got to go and buy FIFA, go home and go online to find the DLC and download it. It's a very complicated process for the kind of casual player. In addition it's more expensive for them."
UEFA Euro 2012 was also criticised upon release for not adding to the core gameplay of its immediate predecessor, FIFA 12, a situation that's been addressed by 2014 FIFA World Cup.
"You just can't do nearly as much with DLC," said Prior. "The way our AI works, it's practically impossible to do major updates, and that was one of the criticisms about Euro - it was game modes rather than gameplay. We wanted to make sure we did sufficient gameplay changes to make it appealing to FIFA guys and new guys.
"There's also the physical size of it - there's loads of content in there which we couldn't do as DLC due to size limitations. A lot of that wouldn't be doable as DLC, so it alienates half our market and limits us in what we can do. The World Cup itself is big enough that it warrants its own game."
The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of FIFA 14 will be getting World Cup-themed Ultimate Team content, and details are set to be revealed in the coming weeks.