EA details FIFA 21 next-gen features and confirms free upgrade scheme

Electronic Arts has officially announced FIFA 21 for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.

FIFA 21 will launch worldwide on October 9, 2020 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC via Steam and Origin – and will come to Google Stadia this winter.

In an announcement premiered in its EA Play Live event on Thursday, the publisher said the yet-to-be-dated next-gen version of FIFA would feature “blazing fast” load times, deferred lighting and rendering, enhanced animation technology, “off-ball humanisation,” and more.

EA also confirmed that FIFA 21 will support its Dual Entitlement scheme, meaning players can upgrade their copy from PlayStation 4 to PlayStation 5, or from Xbox One to Xbox Series X at no extra cost.

However, just like with Madden NFL 21, physical discs cannot currently be used to upgrade to discless consoles such as the PS5 Digital Edition.

On the possibility of cross-platform play, EA said: “we don’t have any news, but we’re continuing to investigate its integration and will share any updates when we have them.”

All progress platers make within FIFA 21 Ultimate Team (including players, items, coins, FIFA Points, match record, and leaderboard placement), as well as all progression in Volta will transfer from PlayStation 4 to PlayStation 5 and back, or Xbox One to Xbox Series X and back, EA said.

Progress within all other modes including Online Seasons, Co-Op Seasons, Career Mode and Pro Clubs will be specific to the console you are playing on and won’t transfer between consoles.

EA Access and Origin Access Basic members will be able to try FIFA 21 starting October 1, and Origin Access Premier members will get full access to play. Fans can also pre-order FIFA 21 to get early access to the game along with other incentives.

FIFA 21 on PC will be the same version as released on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, while the Switch version will again be a ‘Legacy Edition’.

EA had previously confirmed its intention to release FIFA 21 and other sports titles as planned this year, despite significant disruption to both sport and entertainment industries caused by the coronavirus.

However, EA said in May its release plans were subject to possible further disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, or potential postponements or cancellations of sports seasons and sporting events.

In Europe, a number of football leagues have been cancelled due to the pandemic, while England’s Premier League and Spain’s La Liga have resumed in closed stadiums without fans. The possibility remains that the 20/21 season could also be played without the presence of fans.

CFO Blake Jorgensen said that while EA was being cautious around what could develop with the sports leagues, it had seen positive engagement from fans even in their absence.

“We know today people are engaging with sports because that’s what they love to do. If you are a sports fan, it doesn’t stop,” he said. “And so the only way they’re getting their sports engagement is through our games, and that’s a huge benefit for us.

“But we don’t know – because there’s no precedent on this – what happens long term if any of the sports seasons get delayed any further. But we do believe that everything we’re seeing now, particularly in esports, is that we can be a huge factor in helping people socialise and do what they love around the sports they love.”

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