Electronic Arts, FIFA to Split Following FIFA 2023
It’s a partnership that dates back to 1993 with the release of “FIFA International Soccer.” Twenty-nine years later, that relationship comes to close as game developer and publisher Electronic Arts (EA) will no longer be partnering with FIFA for their yearly soccer games. The upcoming release of “FIFA 2023” will mark the end of the collaboration, with both companies focusing on separate soccer projects.
EA announced the news themselves on Tuesday, May 10th. A coy way of making the bad news seem not so bad, the game publisher starts off by discussing how an exciting new era is coming to football in July of 2023. (For sake of consistency we’ll be referring to soccer as ‘football’ for the remainder of the article.) EA also positions this by saying it will come after the “most expansive FIFA experience this year.”
Not to be nitpicky- but that could read as if the most expansive experience of the year is coming, which is not a high bar to cross. Or it could mean that this year will be the most expansive FIFA experience of any year.
Either way, EA has announced that future games will now be branded as EA Sports FC, presumably standing for ‘football club.’ Because of licensing deals that EA has already brokered with various players, organizations, leagues, and stadiums, the company states that players will still be able to enjoy the elements of the previous games that they’ve come to know and love. Though they don’t take any time to mention what, if anything, players might be losing in the process with the FIFA branding.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino has already stated that the FIFA series will continue with FIFA 23, 24, etc., with third party developers.
Given the enormous popularity of football around the globe, and the fact that the game was one of EA’s biggest moneymakers, there’s a lot at stake here for both parties. EA will still have their “Madden” series of American football games, but losing the FIFA branding for worldwide football is an unknown variable. How much does the branding mean to consumers, especially internationally where football is a bigger sport? Then again, FIFA hasn’t exactly had a sterling reputation themselves; will that factor in with the public?
As for future FIFA branded games, who would they reach out to for development?
The first studio that comes to mind is 2K Sports, who currently handle the NBA 2K series as well as PGA 2K. There’s also Sony subsidiary, San Diego Studio which handles the MLB: The Show franchise. We also have a more remote possibility with Konami. For years there were EA FIFA’s biggest rival with their Pro Evolution Soccer series. Their latest entry though, dropped the Pro Evolution name and was released instead as eFootball. The game was torn apart by critics and players alike, but could the dropping of PES have been a foreshadowing of things to come?
We’ll have to wait and see what happens with FIFA. Here’s hoping though that football fans aren’t left in the lurch though during this substantial soccer shake-up.