For as long as people can remember, Electronic Arts was the only publisher that made football games with the FIFA name. That partnership has come to an end, with the announcement earlier this year that FIFA 23 will be the last football game by the publisher to use the name. The sports organisation announced at the time that there will be other FIFA-branded games coming out. Now, it looks like we’re finally getting a glimpse of what they are. And it’s quite the disturbing sight.
As VGC reports, there are four games being released to coincide with the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. The problem is that all four are Web3 titles, and would involve blockchain in some way. The report cites a statement from the sports org which claims that these games “are designed with web 3.0 and the future of digital engagement in mind”. Which is either a severe misreading of the gaming room, or a boldfaced reaching for a piece of the blockchain pie.
The first game on the list is “AI League: FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Edition”, which is a “4-on-4 casual football game, played between AI-controlled characters, with player input at fun and tactical moments”. Which is an excessively long way of describing a self-playing game. It has another “10-week prediction component, with ‘digital and physical’ prizes”, which almost sounds like gambling but without the buy-in.
Next on the list is “FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 in the Upland Metaverse”. That mouthful is a collaboration with Uplandme, with Upland being a blockchain-based metaverse where people buy and sell virtual properties.
Third is “FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 on Phygtl”, described as “a digital representation of eternal fandom”. It allows players to “augment a golden-globe-football from the palm of their hands into their real-life environment, own a limited fragment of it to attach and eternalize their handpicked FIFA World Cup pictures and video moments”.
Last one on the list is “Matchday Challenge: FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Edition”. This is described as a “highly engaging casual social prediction game based on football cards”.
If FIFA is pumping out these kinds of partnerships following its split from EA, it’s hard to tell which one dodged the bullet, and which was the bullet to be dodged. As the NY Times previously reported, the publisher had plans to add non-gameplay elements to FIFA games, like real football game highlights and NFTs. With these new tie-ins being announced, it looks like the sports org made use of the publisher’s ideas despite telling them no before the split.