Image Source: EA Sports
Electronic Arts have announced that it will no longer produce football games using the FIFA brand.
Electronic Arts’ EA Sports branch has been developing football games for nearly three decades, starting with the original FIFA game in 1993 and being in charge of the franchise since then.
Although it is one of the most profitable gaming brands ever, the cost of the license was one of the factors that led to the decision to end the collaboration. EA will continue to produce football video games, but they will be released under EA Sports FC’s new name beginning in 2023.
While the gameplay mechanics and primary forms of play will be comparable to what players have come to anticipate in recent years, this change will most certainly result in changes to a wider range of additional experiences and the ability to play.
EA Sports vice president David Jackson told the BBC that the studio believes it is time to take a different approach in order to create a “future brand.”
Although EA hasn’t revealed the specifics of those experiences, it’s safe to imagine that watching real-life matches, participating in Fortnite-style live in-game events, and purchasing a wider selection of branded in-game items are all things the business would like to be able to do.
“The worlds of football and entertainment are colliding within our offering,” Jackson explains.
“Our players will expect us to be able to expand our offering in the future.” At the moment, our primary type of interactive experience is play. However, fans will soon value both consuming and producing entertainment.
“There were some limits in the licensing conventions that we agreed to with Fifa ten years ago that prevented us from creating those experiences for players.”
The success of the FIFA franchise can be attributed in part to meticulous licensing negotiations that allowed for authentic depictions of team uniforms, players’ faces, and stadiums to be portrayed on screen. For years, players have been allowed to play as Premier League teams such as Liverpool, while competing games such as Pro Evolution Soccer offer fictional sides such as Merseyside Red.
EA claims to have signed up 19,000 athletes, 700 teams, 100 stadiums, and more than 30 leagues for future games, indicating that they will continue to offer real-world experiences. The Premier League, Bundesliga, La Liga, and the European Union are among them.
However, EA will no longer produce World Cup-themed games like FIFA: Road to World Cup 98. Instead, there will be one final FIFA game, with FIFA 23 released this autumn as usual.
Last year, FIFA announced that it was meeting with developers, investors, and analysts to build a future strategy for gaming, eSports, and interactive entertainment, indicating that they had anticipated this shift for some time.
“At first, people will be concerned about change,” Jackson says.
“Players will miss only two things: the name and a piece of World Cup content every four years.” Apart from that, the current Fifa products will remain largely unchanged.
“Maintaining the status quo would have been perhaps the easiest thing we could have done.” Over time, Fifa has been a hugely popular game, but there are times when you have to think about the future, and we believe that developing our own brand is the best option for us. “