Electronic Arts said it will no longer develop Fifa branded football games. One of the most profitable brands in gaming history, but the cost of the license was one of the reasons for terminating the relationship.
Video games made by EA will continue, but they will be marketed under a new banner called EA Sports FC starting in 2023. According to FIFA, it will release its rival titles, saying: "The Fifa name is the only global, original title around." Since 1993, EA Sports has managed the FIFA franchise.
Despite similar gameplay mechanics and modes of play players have grown accustomed to over the years, the title may offer a wider range of experiences beyond just playing the game. EA Sports vice president David Jackson told BBC that the studio is moving in a new direction to build a "brand for the future".
While the details of those experiences are vague right now, it seems logical to assume that a broader range of branded items, watching real-life matches, and experiencing Fortnite-style live events are some of the things EA would like to be able to offer.
According to Jackson, football and entertainment are changing, and the two clash in our products. Our players will expect us to be more expansive in our offerings in the future. Our primary form of interaction at the moment is plays. Soon, viewers and creators will be equally important.
"Fifa had some licensing restrictions 10 years ago that prevented us from building those experiences." In part, the success of the Fifa franchise is due to licensing agreements that ensured accurate representations of team kits, players' faces, and stadiums.
The Premier League offers players the chance to play as clubs such as Liverpool, while rival games feature fictional clubs such as Merseyside Red. The company plans to continue offering real-world experiences in future games, as it has signed up nearly 19,000 athletes, 700 teams, 100 stadiums, and over 30 leagues so far.
The Premier League, Bundesliga, La Liga, and Uefa are among them. EA will no longer produce games to coincide with the World Cup, such as Fifa: Road to World Cup 98. Fifa 23 - the next edition of the game - is set to be released this autumn as usual.
EA is one of the game companies that has faced backlash due to its in-game purchases. The financial model and plans for monetization of their new franchise will certainly be subject to question, but neither of these aspects has been disclosed.
Fifa's fortunes have been closely tied to EA's for decades, and Jackson acknowledges this, saying: "It's a huge moment for us.". EA Sports has been successful over the last 30 years thanks to its interactive football games.”
The company needs to ensure the majority of Fifa players make the switch to the new title to maintain license agreements in the future. This is vital to its success.
The last licensing agreement Electronic Arts struck with Fifa took effect in 2013 and football's governing body has reportedly increased the price of the license yet again, to more than 1billion dollars per four-year world cup cycle.
Jackson acknowledged that Fifa's departure was not purely driven by money, but conceded it played an important role in the decision-making process.
Most negotiations revolve around money, but we do this to create the very best experiences for both parties. As part of this, you evaluate whether one investment is better than another.
Our investments were better suited over time in areas that players care most about, like the different experiences we can now offer. "For partners, it is a means for them to be part of a platform that speaks to 150 million young football fans across the globe."
EA will no longer develop games based on the World Cup, such as this one from 1998. Fifa says it will launch new football video games developed with third-party studios and publishers, allowing more choice for football and gaming fans in the run-up to and beyond the World Cup in Qatar.
Fifa will launch new games in 2022 and 2023 and work with leading game publishers, media companies, and investors to develop a major new Fifa simulation game in 2024.
Fifa President, Gianni Infantino, says, "I can assure you that only an authentic, real Fifa game will be available for gamers and football fans." "The name FIFA will remain forever as the best."
According to David Jackson, EA Sports' approach is right: "Change is always going to be concerning for people at first." The two things that players will miss the most are the name and a piece of World Cup content every four years. Besides that, the current Fifa products will not change much.
Maintaining the status quo would have been the easiest thing to do. FIFA has been a successful game, but there are moments when you need to think about the future. Building our brand makes sense to us.
For more stories like this
Explore our website