EA chief executive Andrew Wilson has suggested the possibility that the studio's top sports titles, Fifa and Madden, may ditch annual releases in favour of becoming subscription-based, "365-day, live service" games.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Wilson said: "We do a lot in a Fifa game every year, and a lot in a Madden game. There's a lot of code that we make available as part of the new iteration, but when we look at what we do in Korea, or China, we don't do it that way.

"About every four years we release a new big code drop, and we offer incremental change over time.

"So what we see in Korea and China, what we see on mobile, I think there's a world where that might also happen in other parts of our business.

Wilson was being asked about the business strategy that has seen publisher Take Two continue to make enormous sums of money from the online portion of Grand Theft Auto 5 for years following its initial 2013 release.

"There's a world where it gets easier and easier to move that code around – where we may not have to do an annual release," Wilson continued. "We can really think about those games as a 365-day, live service."

Wilson also described subscription services as "a really, really valuable way to engage with a consumer base... it is a friction-free way of ingesting large amounts of content".

It was floated as an idea rather than a plan, so there were no details regarding what shape this might take, but it certainly makes sense for sports series. It would, however, represent an enormous change and a big, risky step into the unknown, despite the popularity of EA Sports titles.

Fifa or Madden as an evolving live service rather than a yearly game would allow EA to ask users to pay a subscription fee, while also potentially charging for new features and content.

For example, if Fifa became a service, there could still be a new chapter of single-player story mode The Journey each year that EA could charge for. Fifa Ultimate Team (FUT) would, in this scenario, be an even more important source of money for EA.

The key for EA, and what would be the root of concern among players, is the structure EA might apply to such services and the money they would charge.