FIFA 20 Fiasco Shows EA Can’t Botch Up Its Golden Egg

Journalist:
Thomas Bardwell @TomBWrites
October 2, 2019

FIFA 20’s career mode is a mess, so much so that #FixCareerMode was trending on Twitter last week. Nearly a week later, and not much has changed despite an official Q&A from EA offering vague assurances that it was doing its very best to address the issues and EA Sports lead Corey Andress blaming patching protocol for the slow response.

Source: Twitter

Career Mode Bugs

The problems are damning for a mode supposed to replicate the highs and lows of carrying a team through multiple seasons.

Staged press conference questions don’t relate to in-game events, editing players leads to bizarre position swaps, opposition AI is fielding some off-kilter line ups with backup players featuring among the starting eleven for the biggest games, top-tier teams are being relegated to lower visions, while perennial bottom table warmers dart to the top of the league, calendar congestion means multiple games are played on the same day, player stats fluctuate broadly based on age rather than performance, and so on.

There are even reports that EA is deleting posts about Career Mode issues on its official FIFA forums, which EA blames on spam filters.

Unsurprisingly, FIFA 20’s FUT Ultimate Team mode, its micro-transaction fueled loot box extravaganza, works seamlessly and this may point to why Career Mode launched in such a sorry state. There is no incentive for EA to double down on fixing the issues given it is still drawing ludicrous amounts of revenue from Ultimate Team.

Although this strategy makes financial sense in the short term, player outcry is more organized and vehement than in previous years. There’s a risk EA has gone too far and is on the cusp of alienating the very players that guarantee FIFA’s success year on year. In other words, EA can’t afford to mess up its golden egg.

Source: FIFA 20/EA Sports

EA’s Crown Jewel

The latest report suggests Ultimate Team accounts for 28% of EA total net revenue of $5.1 billion, up from 21% last year, while sales of the game only accounted for 14% last year. But, it’s that 14% that is the gateway to Ultimate Team revenue and by ruining Career Mode, EA may affect the number of players who pick up the game then go on to spend on micro-transactions.

Patience is wearing thin, yet EA intensifies its micro-transaction policy paying little heed to collateral damage to what are fundamental parts of its games, not to speak of releasing bare bones updates for other versions of the game.

In light of successive failures from big-titles like Anthem and Battlefield V, EA would do well to redress the one franchise that still garners relative praise from players.

This article was edited by Samburaj Das.

Last modified (UTC): October 3, 2019 11:19

Tags: EAFIFA 20
Thomas Bardwell @TomBWrites

Thomas is a UK-based video game writer with an unhealthy obsession for everything weird and wonderful about the world of gaming. Contact: tbardwellfreelance[at]gmail[dot]com or Twitter at @TomBWrites