One of the biggest names in the video game industry, EA Sports FIFA has officially ended its partnership with the football conglomerate of the same name. That isn’t to say EA isn’t making football games anymore, future titles will just be needing a new name. The new official title as stated by EA will be known as EA Sports FC. The sad thing is, that’s probably the best name they could come up with. Let’s not go too hard on them.
The news isn’t exactly surprising since EA was already discussing the possibility of ending their partnership back in October last year. Reports suggest that the ‘falling out’ between the two companies came as a result of clashes in regards to licensing costs and exclusivity.
“We’re thankful for our many years of great partnership with FIFA,” said EA CEO Andrew Wilson in a statement. “The future of global football is very 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.”
End of an era
2023 will be the first year to not see a new FIFA title release in almost 30 years. The games began their journey back in the SEGA Genesis and Super NES, hitting almost every big-name console yearly since its release.
But why are FIFA and EA parting ways? Reports suggest that FIFA (the institution) was asking EA for more money to continue the partnership. At the moment, EA is paying $150 million annually to use the FIFA branding, with FIFA asking EA to double that number from 2023 onwards.
Andrew Wilson reportedly said this to EA employees in November last year: “Basically, what we get from FIFA in a non-World Cup year is the four letters on the front of the box, in a world where most people don’t even see the box anymore because they buy the game digitally.”
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why EA decided to strike out on its own.
Same, but different
When it comes to gameplay, not much will be different besides the regular annual ‘changes’ players have come to expect from FIFA games. When EA Sports FC releases in 2023, it will still house many of the big names in terms of players and leagues. Leagues such as the UEFA Champions League, Premier League, LaLiga, Bundesliga, and Serie A will stick around, along with plenty more.
Players won’t be an issue either. In EA’s words, the game will feature “…more than 19,000 athletes across 700 teams, in 100 stadiums and over 30 leagues around the world.”
One of the biggest knocks to EA Sports FC will be the loss of the World Cup game mode. In the past, FIFA titles that included a World Cup mode tended to sell slightly better than those without it. Since FIFA is the governor of the official World Cup, EA Sports FIFA will be unable to use it for any future games. Still, EA is no stranger to changing the names of players and tournaments just enough when they don’t have the rights to use the real deal.
And FIFA 23?
Since the partnership between the two companies is only ending in 2023, it means 2022 will still see the release of FIFA 23. This will be the last FIFA title ever, and will reportedly include cross-play – a first for the series.
FIFA 23 will feature a World Cup mode, coinciding with the World Cup taking place in December later this year. It’s possibly why EA opted to release a FIFA 23 at all, hoping to scoop the most value for money before going their own way.
Another notable feature of FIFA 23 will be the inclusion of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, which has so far failed to debut in previous titles.
Whether EA Sports FC will sell as well as it did when it was called FIFA is still unknown. Players may view this as an opportunity to end EA’s reign and move on to other, less expensive football titles.