The video game that has taken over dorm rooms around the world is changing: Electronic Arts said Tuesday that its decades-long collaboration with FIFA will come to an end.
“FIFA 23,” which will be released in July, will be the series’ final installment. EA Sports intends to terminate its licensing agreement with FIFA and release a new game called “EA Sports FC.”
“The introduction of EA SPORTS FC is a franchise-defining moment for EA, providing the company with the platform to realize its vision for the future of interactive football – a more innovative, creative, and joyous experience for all football fans around the world.” EA dubbed the transition the start of an “exciting new era” in a lengthy statement, but stressed that the franchise, which has sold over 325 million copies, will retain all major features.
“Everything you love about our games will be part of EA SPORTS FC-the same fantastic experiences, modes, leagues, tournaments, clubs, and athletes will all be there,” said Cam Weber, EA Sports’ Group General Manager. In a statement released a few hours later, FIFA said it would pursue alternative chances to create different video games with “third-party studios and publishers.” This year, the organization plans to offer a “non-simulation” game themed on the 2022 World Cup, and it expects to release “a simulation” game next year.
“I can tell you that the only genuine FIFA game will be the greatest available to gamers and football enthusiasts,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino stated.
A non-simulation game is one that does not attempt to recreate a sport in its entirety, including all players, teams, and typical gameplay. The NBA Street series, for example, features three-on-three basketball with bizarre slam dunks and dribble techniques. With these new FIFA creations, EA Sports has faced one of the few serious challenges in the soccer game industry.
The likelihood of separation was made public in the fall when FIFA and EA were alleged to have reached a snag in their negotiations. FIFA was said to be asking for more than double the amount it presently receives in licensing fees from EA Sports.
In October, EA began filing trademark applications for “EA Sports FC.” In a blog post on the EA website later that month, Weber emphasized that the business “continually [invests] in the partnerships and licenses that are most meaningful to players.”
Is the game about to change? Most likely, not much. Because of separate license deals, EA Sports may preserve most of its features despite its separation from FIFA. One of those agreements is a recent renewal with FIFPRO, the global players’ union, which will allow the game to keep player names and likenesses.
The English Premier League, German Bundesliga, Spanish La Liga, Major League Soccer, and the UEFA Champions League are among the leagues with which EA has agreements. To coincide with EA’s official announcement on Tuesday, each group issued statements of support.
“The only difference with losing the FIFA license is that the game’s name will change,” EA said in a statement. With the publication of “FIFA International Soccer” in 1993, EA and FIFA began a fruitful cooperation. Since then, the game has been released every year, making it the second-longest-running annual franchise behind the Madden NFL franchise.