They're so engrossed in the series' winning gameplay they're bound to feel the smallest tweaks every year like a boot to the noggin in a fiery half-time team talk. They'll notice every animation, every flake of weight added or removed from the ball, every tweak to Messi's sprint speed. Change the brand of paint used to touch-up the centre spot and they'll sniff the difference in seconds.
Thinking ahead? Read our most-wanted list of FIFA 13 features - and give us your own.
This year you won't have to be a soccer-sim sensei to recognise FIFA 12 has changed. EA Sports has implemented game-changing features in key areas of the park that make for an altogether more tactical, charismatic experience.
Instead of building on top of FIFA 11 the EA team has taken steps in different directions - in some cases, ones we weren't expecting - to change the overall feel of the franchise.
There's still that incredible fluidity of play, the incredibly detailed level of animation. FIFA still surprises you with goals you've never seen before, it still takes full advantage of exclusive licenses to provide the most authentic football experience bar the real deal.
But when you're off the ball you'll discover a more physical, thoughtful and authentic defensive game that forces even the most veteran FIFA champs to rethink their game plan entirely. EA's been brave, and FIFA 12 is most definitely one of its most significant updates yet...