Electronic Arts employed the help of Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo to announce the release of a free downloadable World Cup game mode for FIFA 18. Much like FIFA 14’s free World Cup game mode, it will include content for both the highly popular Ultimate Team game mode and a custom tournament mode. It will include all 12 Russian stadiums used to host World Cup matches this summer. Popular teams which failed to qualify for the World Cup, such as the United States and Italy, will also be included in this update.
This free downloadable content is slated for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC release on May 29th. It will require the base FIFA 18 game in order to play, which retails for $60 USD.
In the past, EA has created standalone video games for the World Cup, including in 2014 despite their free World Cup update to the base FIFA 14 game. This shift from paid World Cup content to free may come on the back of the widespread criticism EA was met with upon the release of Star Wars Battlefront 2, when they put a majority of the in-game content behind a paywall despite charging $60 USD for the base game. With many of the most popular video games now shifting to a free to play model, such as Fortnite and League of Legends, EA Sports may see this free FIFA World Cup update as a way to test the market which may lead to a shift in pricing strategy.
It is still unknown if there will be any sponsor integration included in this update, in the form of digital signage or other means. EA made headlines with the release of FIFA 18, inking the first-ever sponsorship of a virtual athlete, the playable star of “The Journey” game mode Alex Hunter, with Coca-Cola.