EA and FIFA Break Up - What does the Future Hold for the Series?
Few partnerships are as iconic as the one EA and FIFA have been enjoying for over three decades. As of a few days ago, though, the unthinkable has happened; the seemingly eternal mammoth corporate marriage has now filed for divorce. As reported on Bloomberg by Jason Schreier, Electronic Arts “failed to reach a new licensing agreement with the world soccer governing body”.
The game series synonymous with football that began in 1993 will be singing its swansong later this year in its final iteration. After that, it will make way for a fresh start under the rebranded name EA Sports FC.
Give yourself a moment to let that all sink in before reading further to find out all the details and what the future may hold for EA’s brave new football world and the FIFA name’s future.
"Whatever the future may hold for both the FIFA name and EA Sports FC, one thing is for sure: the football game genre is about to get a whole lot more exciting."
FIFA 23 is Still Happening
After reading this news, your first thought is likely the same as ours: when will the rebrand take effect? The answer is next year.
EA has confirmed that FIFA has granted them an extension to their license, allowing them to make one more game with their name for the 2022-2023 season. FIFA 23 is still very much happening later this year, and with it will come the usual changes, updates, and new features. One confirmed feature will allow you to make your own stadium. Apart from the look and feel of your team’s home field, you’ll also be able to customize billboards, crowd size and behavior, and other finer details.
The mega-publisher has also stated that FIFA 23 will include both men’s and women’s World Cup leagues for the first time in the series’ history.
EA Sports FC Will Be the Same Game
What can be particularly problematic to FIFA fans is how much the game will change after the rebranding. According to EA, not a whole lot. In their press release, the publisher has stated that they aim to retain the same experiences and modes we’ve been enjoying throughout the FIFA series’ long history.
On top of that, they’ve flexed a few numbers as their partnership portfolio consists of over 19,000 players, 700 teams, 100 stadiums, and 30 leagues. In other words, losing the FIFA license doesn’t entirely affect the game as far as football content is concerned. Among these deals are exclusive partnerships with Premier League, Bundesliga, Serie A, and the MLS, with allegedly more to come.
What about the FIFA Name?
With its proverbial knot loosened from EA, FIFA is free to play the field as it searches for a new gaming mate. FIFA’s president, Gianni Infantino, has gone on record stating that “the only authentic, real game that has the FIFA name will be the best one”. Without a shadow of a doubt, this confirms that the football entity wants to carry on the series’ legacy.
Among the possible suitors is 2K Sports, a company that has been dominating a big chunk of the sports genre for several years now. The parent company Take-Two remained “coy” during an earnings call in 2021 about its interest in acquiring the license. There are, of course, other prospects out there, some of which may even come as a complete surprise.
What Can We Expect from EA Sports FC?
As mentioned above, EA wants the rebrand only to affect the name. They intend to retain the same experience FIFA fans know and love, even if it’s under a new banner. That doesn’t mean that EA Sports FC won’t also be an opportunity for more significant changes in other respects.
EA has demonstrated many times its infatuation with microtransactions. Even FIFA itself, in recent years, has included a lootbox-filled mode called FIFA Ultimate Team. Therefore, it’s not far-fetched to believe EA Sports FC may be a free-to-play title. For one, EA hasn’t specified a year in the title. Traditionally, FIFA titles included numeric years. So far, we’ve only seen an announcement for the base name that will be on the box. It also makes sense for sports titles to adopt a battle pass-esque model. With changes to teams and players happening every year, fans are already paying something akin to an annual subscription to remain up-to-date with FIFA.
Whatever the future may hold for both the FIFA name and EA Sports FC, one thing is for sure: the football game genre is about to get a whole lot more exciting.