Electronic Arts' FIFA 10 has sold 4.5 million units worldwide since launch, up 26 percent over the launch of last year's iteration.
FIFA 10 released October 1 in Europe, the game's primary market, where it sold 1.7 million units at retail in its first week -- EA says it's the best-selling game in Europe for 2009 overall.
One pillar of EA's current strategy is to aim for a smaller portfolio of bigger hits. When Gamasutra asked EA CEO John Riccitiello earlier today what EA judges as its own seasonal blockbuster, alongside rival publishers' hits like Modern Warfare 2 and Assassin's Creed 2, he pointed to FIFA 10.
"In Europe, it's bigger than Modern Warfare 2, in terms of year-to-date revenues [and] units," Riccitiello told us.
Addressing the slightly different taste of the European audience is key for publishers of sports games, he said -- adding that the latest Need For Speed: Shift is likely to be one of the season's top titles for Europe.
EA also announced today that FIFA 10 has attained new records for the franchise in terms of online play, averaging 3 million online games played daily and over 113 million total matches played across Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
Online business models are another major component in the publisher's strategy: "It's an on-purpose transformation," Riccitiello told us. "We're trying to become a company that looks more like a direct-to-consumer business."
In that vein, next year, the company will build on FIFA 10's online play with the launch of Ultimate Team, which it describes as a "deeper, more authentic, more dynamic version of the game mode successfully introduced last year." It also promises to allow fans to further customize their team building and management.
Says producer Paul Hossack alongside today's announcement: "We now have over 7,000 players from 27 leagues available, from which gamers will craft one or multiple squads to show their mastery of the revamped, more realistic chemistry system, and compete in tournaments with exciting requirements and rewards."
"On top of that, we’ll release new tournaments and other updates regularly to keep the experience fresh and exciting," he adds.