Electronic Arts (EA) has announced that its highly popular football game franchise will no longer be released under the FIFA banner starting from 2023. Instead, the franchise will be called the EA Sports FC.
In a separate announcement, FIFA has also confirmed that it has adopted a non-exclusive licensing modal for football video games although it still allows EA to release FIFA 23 later this year. While the next FIFA simulation football game will only be out in 2024, the global footballing body has teased that there will indeed be another FIFA-branded game this year although it will be positioned under the non-simulation games category.
Both announcements generally marked the end of EA and FIFA’s partnership which has lasted for almost 30 years. Truth to be told, this is something that has been expected since late last year as there have been rumours that the two long-time partners could not agree on a new agreement for the franchise with FIFA reportedly asking for double the USD150 million annual fee that it has received from EA.
Furthermore, EA itself revealed back in October that it is reconsidering FIFA’s naming rights agreement. A few days later, FIFA then responded by releasing a statement which said that gaming and eSports for football have to be something that can’t be controlled by just one entity although it didn’t name EA outright at that time.
While FIFA President, Gianni Infantino is confident that future FIFA football games will be able to retain their reputation as the best in the genre, it is hard to not feel sceptical though. For starters, EA has been doing this for almost 30 years and it is likely a monumental task for most developers out there not only to match EA’s experience but its vast resources as well.
Furthermore, EA also has the right to a long list of popular football leagues, teams, and stadiums which are separate from its arrangement with FIFA. In FIFA 22 as an example, the game has exclusive rights to UEFA Champions League, Premier League, LaLiga, Bundesliga, Serie A, and Ligue 1 alongside access to the likeness of football stars through its partnership with the global professional footballer union, FIFPRO.
While having a well-established brand could be helpful when you want to push a game into the market, what matters is the game’s quality and gameplay. Word of advice to FIFA: they may want to take a look at what happened to Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer/Winning Eleven/eFootball series.