The world football governing body, FIFA wants to end its exclusive partnership with EA Sports to “maximize all future opportunities for football and gaming fans”.
EA Sports is the publisher of the popular FIFA series. Every year, the company publishes football video games with FIFA exclusive license.
After the launch of FIFA 22 which many believe there was not much improvement between it and the last edition, FIFA issued a statement that sounded like its exclusive ties with EA Sports might come to an end anytime soon.
EA Sports has been using the FIFA brand exclusively since 1993 which gave the company an edge over its competitor like Konami’s efootball.
The fall of FIFA’s relationship with EA reportedly started when the football governing body and the company were negotiating the renewal of the agreement between them. Their initial agreement will expire after the 2022 FIFA World Cup, hence, the company wanted to seal a renewed agreement before the World Cup.
But talks have stalled over some conditions FIFA added to the agreement. Such was that FIFA wanted EA to pay the football body more than $1 billion within four years.
Aside from that, FIFA intends to limit EA’s rights to just video games. While EA wants its rights to expand to arena-based tournaments, NFTs, and highlights for real-world games.
Amid the stalled contract negotiation, EA Sports decided to trademark “EA Sports FC” which could mean that the company is ready to do without the FIFA brand in its subsequent edition if the company fails to renew its deal with FIFA.
If EA loses the exclusive right to use the FIFA brand name, analysts believe that it might affect the company’s performance in the market even if the company retains the game servers.
FIFA is now thinking beyond EA Sports
As it stands, FIFA is reportedly focused on opening the football video game business to more investors. Its statement said football video games “must involve more than one party controlling and exploiting all rights”.
“Gaming and eSports are the fastest-growing media verticals on the planet, with new and diverse types of games launching continuously,” the football body wrote.
“It is therefore of crucial importance for FIFA and its stakeholders to maximize all future opportunities for football and gaming fans.”
Hence, in FIFA’s quest to widen the football video game world, the football body has started talking to more investors and developers.
“FIFA is bullish and excited about the future in gaming and esports for football, and it is clear that this needs to be a space that is occupied by more than one party controlling all rights”, FIFA’s statement read.
“Technology and mobile companies are now actively competing to be associated with FIFA, its platforms, and global tournaments. Consequently, FIFA is engaging with various industry players, including developers, investors, and analysts, to build out a long-term view of the gaming, esports, and interactive entertainment sector.”