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FIFA 19 stretches the lifespan of the PS3 and Xbox 360

If any game’s going to prolong a console, it’s probably sports

FIFA 19 - Ronaldo in shadow EA Vancouver, EA Romania/Electronic Arts
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Did you notice the platforms FIFA 19 is launching on, when the game was announced today at EA Play 2018? There’s Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One — and, an EA representative confirmed to Polygon, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Microsoft and Sony ended production of the last-generation consoles (in North America) more than a year ago, after having launched them in 2005 and 2006, respectively. But the confirmation that FIFA 19 is in development for those older systems points to the Xbox 360 and PS3 as still-relevant platforms and market spaces that a publisher — particularly one paying a ton of licensing fees — would still do well to address.

The other aspect is that sports video games are typically the last new titles to be published on an obsolete platform. The last original Xbox title to be sold on shelves, for example, was Madden NFL 09 a decade ago. FIFA 14 and Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 were both released in 2013; they were the last packaged goods to ship for the PlayStation 2, which debuted in 2000. And Ubisoft’s Just Dance series was still going strong on the Wii as of last fall, too.

This isn’t some altruistic gesture to nostalgia. If there’s a viable platform, EA — a publicly traded company listed on the NASDAQ — will sell to it. There’s a huge audience of players out there who didn’t get the latest and greatest hardware and are just fine with what they have, thank you very much. It’s charming to see a AAA publisher serve an audience getting high mileage out of its console hardware.

So game on, PS3 and Xbox 360 owners. They’re still good machines.