For almost three decades, it has been something of an institution. FIFA and EA Sports. The world’s most popular sport and the most successful sports franchise of all time has worked side by side and raked in the big bucks. But now it’s new times and it’s been going on for a while. Rumors have abounded that something big is about to happen with EA Sports and FIFA and now we finally know what. After months of negotiations between the two parties, no way has been found to reach an agreement for continued partnership. This means that after the current agreement, which would actually expire after this year’s world championships in Qatar but has been extended to extend over the women’s football ditto next summer, it will cease to apply. As soon as that championship is over, it’s time for about 150 million FIFA players to get used to the new name of the game series, EA Sports FC.
The game under a new name should not in itself differ significantly from before, which in itself FIFA players are used to at this point. Most teams with associated stars will remain as the license for teams and leagues is a separate deal, but on the other hand, of course, the World Cup and other FIFA-controlled events will disappear when the agreement expires.
However, this is not said to be a future problem as it is considered that the vast majority buy the games for the opportunity to play football, not because FIFA itself represents the gaming experience. You simply do not stand and fall with the name FIFA. As long as the players can choose their favorite team in the Premier League, Serie A or Ligue 1 and can play like Harry Kane, Kylian Mbappé or Zlatan if he has not thrown the leg guards on the shelf by then, there is no bigger cow on the ice, they reason.
But it is clear that financially, there are fears. Given that the combination of FIFA and EA Sports has generated a staggering $ 20 billion in sales, there is cause for concern as they now take different paths. The main reason why they are now divided is said to be that FIFA, led by Gianni Infantino, has demanded a doubling of the 150 million dollars they now receive annually from EA Sports and that is a reasonable increase, you can safely say. A demand that has now made it so that EA Sports did not say thank you, but no thank you for a contract extension. In addition to doubling the license fee, FIFA also required the ability to link its brand to other digital products, including other games. When not even the individual conversations between Infantino and Andrew Wilson, CEO of Electronic Arts, succeeded in achieving the desired result, they instead agreed on a friendly separation and this is what Wilson said about the decision.
“It was really about how can we do more for the players, more for the fans, how can we offer them more modalities to play, how can we bring more partners into the game, how can we expand beyond the bounds of the traditional game . “
Analysts now predict that the future of FIFA looks bleak, but that EA Sports will not have any major problems with continuing to grow on its own. This is how Gareth Sutcliffe, senior analyst at Enders, comments on the two partners’ chances of moving forward:
“If you’re breaking a relationship that goes back over 20 years there will be consequences. EA will continue to motor on: They have got all the technological smarts, the creative implementation of an absolutely fantastic football game. But what do FIFA have? Their name. And then what? “
It is also important to mention in this context that EA Sports has over 300 cooperation agreements, including with UEFA, which holds the Champions League and many of these agreements are also exclusive. This means, for example, that no other player has access to the Premier League or Champions League. According to Andrew Wilson, they will also work on concluding more exclusive agreements that were previously not possible to achieve due to the cooperation with FIFA, such as Nike, where under current agreements it is limited to selected activities and products.
Right now, however, all focus is on the upcoming world championships in Qatar, for both parties. Wilson has promised that the last edition of a FIFA game, which will be released in September this year, will also be the biggest and he also says, in order not to completely close the door to the possibility of a separate agreement, that he hopes that there will be more chances for EA Sports-produced world championships also in the future. “We’d love to continue to represent the World Cup through the game.”
How it will be with that thing remains to be seen, of course, but it is clear in any case that the new name will be EA Sports FC and nothing else.