Electronic Arts has announced that it would no longer produce Fifa-branded football games.
It is one of the most profitable gaming brands ever, but the expense of the license was one of the factors in the decision to end the collaboration.
EA will continue to develop football video games, but they will be branded as EA Sports FC starting in 2023.
“The Fifa name is the sole worldwide, original title,” Fifa claims of its ambitions to develop competing games.
EA Sports created the first FIFA game in 1993 and has run the series ever since.
While the gaming mechanics and main styles of play will be comparable to what gamers have come to anticipate in recent years, the title will likely provide a greater range of other experiences, in addition to the ability to play.
David Jackson, vice president of EA Sports, told the press that the studio believes it is time to take a fresh approach in order to create a “future brand.”
Although the specifics of those experiences are still unknown, it’s reasonable to think that being able to watch real-life matches, participate in Fortnite-style live in-game events, and access a wider selection of branded in-game merchandise are all things EA would like to be able to provide.
According to Jackson, “Football and entertainment are evolving, and these two worlds collide inside our offering.
“In the future, our players will expect us to be more expansive in our offerings. We now use play as our major type of interactive experience. For fans, viewing and generating content will soon be equally vital.
“There were some limits in the licensing standards that we had negotiated with Fifa ten years ago that wouldn’t enable us to construct those experiences for players.”
The success of the Fifa franchise may be attributed in part to comprehensive license arrangements that enabled for realistic renderings of club uniforms, players’ faces, and stadiums on screen.
For years, players have been allowed to play as Premier League teams like as Liverpool, although competing games such as Pro Evolution Soccer included fake sides such as Merseyside Red.
EA claims to have signed up 19,000 athletes, 700 teams, 100 stadiums, and over 30 leagues for future games, indicating that they will continue to deliver real-world experiences.
The Premier League, Bundesliga, La Liga, and Uefa are among them.
However, this implies that games like Fifa: Road to World Cup 98, which were launched to coincide with the World Cup, will no longer be created by EA.
There will be one last Fifa game, with this year’s edition – Fifa 23 – going on sale in the autumn, as is customary.
In late 2023, EA Sports FC will be released.
EA is one of the gaming companies that has received criticism for its in-game purchasing policy. Several concerns regarding their new brand will undoubtedly revolve around the business model and monetisation ambitions, which have yet to be announced.
The decision is a risk for EA, whose fortunes have been inextricably linked to Fifa for decades, and Jackson recognizes that “It’s a watershed moment for the company. EA Sports’ success over the previous three decades has been built on interactive football experiences.”
It will be critical for the corporation to keep crucial licensing deals in the future if the bulk of the millions of present Fifa gamers transfer to the new title. They are a crucial component of its success.
The last licensing agreement between Electronic Arts and Fifa was signed in 2013, and it was claimed that the price of the license had increased dramatically, this time to more than $1 billion each four-year world cup cycle.
When questioned if leaving Fifa was primarily a financial choice, Jackson responded, “It wasn’t ultimately down to money,” but acknowledged that money played a significant factor in the decision.
“While money is important in most conversations, the reason we’re doing this is to provide the greatest possible experience for both gamers and partners.” You assess if your investment in one place is better or worse than an investment in another as part of this.
“Over time, we thought that our investments were better matched in areas that were most essential to players, such as the many experiences we can now develop in the game,” says the team. It’s how we can welcome and engage our partners into a platform that speaks to 150 million young football fans all around the world.”
Fifa said on its website that it will release new football video games developed in collaboration with a variety of third-party studios and publishers, giving football and gaming enthusiasts additional options in the run-up to the World Cup in Qatar and beyond.
Fifa said it is collaborating with prominent game publishers, media businesses, and investors to build a significant new Fifa simulation game title in 2024, in addition to delivering new games in 2022 and 2023.
“I can tell you that the only true, real game that bears the Fifa brand will be the greatest one available for gamers and football enthusiasts,” said Fifa President Gianni Infantino in a statement.
“The Fifa name will always be there, and it will always be the greatest.”
EA Sports appears to be confident in their strategy: “People will always be concerned about change at first,” David Jackson explains.
“There will be just two things that players will miss: the name and a World Cup piece of material every four years.” Aside from that, virtually nothing will change about the present Fifa goods that fans know and love.
“Maintaining the status quo would have been perhaps the simplest thing for us to do. Fifa has been a really popular game throughout the years, but there are times when you have to think about the future, and we believe that developing our own brand is the greatest option for us.”