Electronic Arts has confirmed that they will give up the FIFA license for their football game series in 2023, switching to their homegrown EA Sports FC brand instead. Despite losing the FIFA branding, they will continue to have partnerships with hundreds of licensors from across the world.
The last EA FIFA game will be FIFA 23, coming out later this year.
It’s a move that had been expected ever since the first reports and rumours came out last year, with FIFA reportedly wanting more money compared to the last time they gave EA the exclusive rights – apparently they wanted $250 million per year – and EA agitating to push their money-making sports series in more money-making directions.
In truth, EA might have had FIFA on the box, but also had to do the leg work to secure and bring a huge amount of other licensed content into these games. EA Sports FC will move forward while still having over 19,000 players and their likenesses, 700 teams, 100 stadiums and over 30 leagues from around the world. They will still have the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, CONMEBOL Libertadores, Premier League, Bundesliga, LaLiga, Serie A, and MLS, among many others that you can see here.
“Our vision for EA SPORTS FC is to create the largest and most impactful football club in the world, at the epicenter of football fandom,” said Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson. “For nearly 30 years, we’ve been building the world’s biggest football community – with hundreds of millions of players, thousands of athlete partners, and hundreds of leagues, federations, and teams. EA SPORTS FC will be the club for every one of them, and for football fans everywhere.”
A great deal of the announcement focusses on the fact that EA still hold a huge number of licenses to ensure that the game doesn’t end up filled with loosely renamed lookalikes, as has been a hallmark of Konami’s footballing series over the years. However, it doesn’t really say much about what else the game will include.
While licensing fees to FIFA were a part of the issue, EA also reportedly wanted to push the game to explore new revenue streams such as NFTs and blockchain. The incredibly popular Ultimate Team modes across their sports games drew in $1.62 billion in 2021, with “a substantial portion” of that coming from FIFA Ultimate Team in particular. EA being able to do more experimental things without having to check if FIFA’s cool with that, and then being able to keep a larger share of the profits for themselves is bound to have been very appealing to the company.
Source: press release