After nearly three decades, EA is officially dropping the FIFA franchise title.
The series will progress onwards, however, as “EA Sports FC“.
EA Sports executive Cam Weber wrote;
“Everything you love about our games will be part of EA Sports FC – the same great experiences, modes, leagues, tournaments, clubs, and athletes. Ultimate Team, Career Mode, Pro Clubs, and Volta Football will all be there”.
This is good news for fans of the series.
As Weber added, the series’ roster will – presumably – remain untouched too;
“Our unique licensing portfolio of more than 19,000+ players, 700+ teams, 100+ stadiums and 30 leagues that we’ve continued to invest in for decades will still be there, uniquely in EA Sports FC. That includes exclusive partnerships with the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A, the MLS – and more to come”.
There was a little worry as to how the series would continue without that iconic branding. The truth of the matter is, that FIFA is merely a governing body acting across the whole of football worldwide. That branding does not equate to a license for the various leagues, clubs, and sponsors.
And that is something EA has acted upon independently outside of FIFA, it seems.
EA head Andrew Wilson had previously stated how FIFA was simply, “four letters on the front of the box”.
“In a World Cup year, of course, we get access to the World Cup. But in the broader context of global football on an annualised basis, the World Cup is important but it’s not the most important. We have 300 other licences that give us the content that our players engage with the most and the most deeply”.
Speaking of the World Cup, 2022 is, of course, a World Cup year. And coincidentally enough, 2022 will also be the last EA published game utilising the FIFA branding.
“We are committed to ensuring the next FIFA is our best ever, with more features, game modes, World Cup content, clubs, leagues, competitions, and players than any FIFA title before”.
Finally, Wilson concluded, saying;
“Our vision for EA Sports FC is to create the largest and most impactful football club in the world, at the epicenter of football fandom.
For nearly 30 years, we’ve been building the world’s biggest football community – with hundreds of millions of players, thousands of athlete partners, and hundreds of leagues, federations, and teams. EA Sports FC will be the club for every one of them, and for football fans everywhere.
We are thankful for our many years of great partnership with FIFA. The future of global football is bright, and fandom around the world has never been stronger. We have an incredible opportunity to put EA Sports FC at the heart of the sport, and to bring even more innovative and authentic experiences to the growing football audience”.
The big question now might just be, “why?”. Well, as the New York Times [paywall] noted that the two parties had struggled to reach an agreement for “at least two years”.
Apparently, FIFA wanted to increase the cost of its licence to “more than $1 billion for each four-year World Cup cycle”. As the NYT surmised, this could be to capitalise on the exponential growth that EA’s Ultimate Team has generated.
Most recently, EA noted how Ultimate Team generated $1.62 billion in EA’s 2021 financial year. Alone.
Interestingly, FIFA has already made a statement following EA dropping its partnership.
The association’s president, Gianni Infantino has stated;
“I can assure you that the only authentic, real game that has the FIFA name will be the best one available for gamers and football fans. The FIFA name is the only global, original title. FIFA 23, FIFA 24, FIFA 25, and FIFA 26, and so on – the constant is the FIFA name and it will remain forever and remain THE BEST”.
And, apparently, FIFA has already started reaching out to other publishers, studios, and investors in a bid to make a new simulation title for 2024. In the meantime, FIFA will look to launch a number of “non-simulation” games for release later this year and beyond.
Meanwhile, EA said there would be more details on EA Sports FC coming in 2023.
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