The FIFA franchise might just be one of the most profitable sports franchises in history. They are in charge of governing association football, beach football, and futsal, meaning they govern the most popular sport in the world. With over 3 billion fans worldwide, football absolutely dominates the sports industry. It is the most played, the most watched, and the most bet on sport in the world. Knowing all of this, it isn’t at all surprising to learn that video games based on the sport are hugely successful.
The case is such with EA Sports’ FIFA video game franchise. Going strong since the early 2000s, EA games has been in charge of the FIFA license for 20 years, if not more. They have produced some of the most popular games in the world. EA’s football games absolutely dominate the eSports world, with FIFA especially being one of the most celebrated and played games in professional tournaments. Its popularity is such, that if we take a look at a betting app comparison website, we would find a ton of sportsbook apps that allow bettors to place games not just on FIFA games proper, but also on FIFA video game matches.
However, after a fruitful 20-year collaboration, it seems that EA Games and FIFA are pulling the plug on their relationship. So, exactly what happened that led to this upset? That is exactly what we are looking to explain in this article. So, let us take a look at the events that led to EA Games and FIFA’s split.
As with any split, the main reason behind this is that the two sides had different visions for the product. FIFA, for their part, demanded almost double the fee that was once agreed upon. According to a recently-issued report, FIFA asked for $300 million annually. And if that wasn’t enough, the football organization also insisted that they be allowed to pursue alternative developers through which they will release different games bearing the FIFA name.
EA Games, naturally, found this unacceptable. After all, if competing FIFA games were released simultaneously with EA’s FIFA games, sales might be impacted. Furthermore, demanding twice the agreed-upon amount would make anyone apprehensive.
However, EA are not blameless in all this. Apparently, they were adamant on expanding the rights to use the FIFA brand. Apparently, this expansion of rights included, but was not limited to the use of actual FIFA highlight footage, and the selling of digital products.
FIFA were not having this, and after a long discussion the two sides came to an agreement. FIFA 23 would be the last game in the EA Sports FIFA franchise. But, what does this mean for fans of the games? Is FIFA 23 the last new game that they can ever play in the franchise? Well, let’s find out.
What Happens Next?
Fans of the FIFA games might be happy to find out that EA Sports will not stop producing their popular football games. Although, some changes will need to take place. For example, EA will no longer be allowed to use FIFA branding. Naturally, this fact means that the games will need to be rebranded and the aesthetics will have to be altered. However, at least for now, EA has said that the core mechanics should not be different. Starting in 2024, the popular franchise will no longer bear the FIFA name. Rather, players will be treated to the EA Sports FC franchise. Whether EA will be using names of actual players or teams remains to be seen, though it seems unlikely.
But what about fans of FIFA? Eventually, they will run out of other big releases worth attention, and will want to return to their comfort games. Well, FIFA has not made any concrete statements about publishing new games with their brand. However, considering the fact that the FIFA video game franchise was hugely successful, netting billions of dollars annually, it seems like a waste not to pursue that avenue.
If FIFA does, in fact, pursue new developers and attempt to create their own franchise, then fans of football video games will truly be pleased. At best, two high-quality games will be released every year, one bearing the FIFA name, and one featuring the classic mechanics that we are all used to. At worst, two competent games will drop annually, keeping both sides happy.
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