FIFA overlord David Rutter is still pretty dang keen on that sweet, sweet connectivity, but hasn't forgotten that a significant proportion of FIFA players are only interested in single player. Accordingly, the inevitable FIFA 14 will once again strike a balance between deep career offerings and online features.
"I think we're already there," the series executive producer told What Culture in an interview, when the site asked whether FIFA would become a completely connected service down the line. "For someone with a connected console you're completely connected with the EA SPORTS Football Club component of the game now. Everything you do in the game counts towards your level, you can see what your mates have been up to."
"We're delivering data updates on professional players and injecting challenges from real matches. You can download an App to keep track of your EASFC stuff, and manage your Ultimate Team too from the bus or workplace. You're right - it'll get even more like this in the next few years." All of which echoes comments from last year, when Rutter told us that FIFA will ultimately graduate to a full online service.
However, Rutter is conscious that this sort of talk raises hackles among many lifelong FIFA enthusiasts, particularly given the publisher's recent activities. "Seriously, there are a ton of people who still enjoy single player experiences. Career mode in particular remains a massive mode in FIFA and remains a big focus for us.
"I think this is because it's an excellent experience, and also because it's sometimes a major hassle hooking up with your mates online to play head to head or the people online are quitting/cheating/beating you up. We're working on that too!"
In general, Rutter wants to continue to evolve FIFA's existing offering, diversifying where it makes sense rather than for the sake of it. "I think many things poorly delivered are weaker than few things delivered well," he said, adding "For FIFA we're already really pretty broad - single player, co-op, competitive multiplayer, ranked, unranked, career, and all locked to a player or as any player, across a massive comprehensive set of players, teams and leagues. It's a huge game.
"Our biggest features in the last 3 years have probably come from 'deep'. I think deep is what gets the 90+ ratings and the fans eager, but you can't be too narrow. Our fans have really diverse tastes in modes and we need to cater to that."