For more than a decade, EA’s FIFA franchise has had a virtual monopoly in video game soccer, overshadowing Pro Evolution Soccer while raking in hundreds of millions of dollars from FIFA Ultimate Team. But recent events are jeopardizing that dominance as FIFA issues a press release stating that future games will have to involve more than one party.
In the new statement, FIFA was “bullish” about “the future of gaming and esports”. The statement also seemed to explicitly denounce the current state of the football game market, which has been ruled by EA for years.
“FIFA is optimistic and looking forward to the future of gaming and esports for football, and it is clear that this has to be a space occupied by more than one party that controls all rights,” reads in the explanation.
“Technology and wireless companies are now actively competing to be associated with FIFA, its platforms and global tournaments, so FIFA is working with various industry players including developers, investors and analysts to take a long-term view of the Develop games. ” , eSports and interactive entertainment. The outcome will ensure that FIFA has a number of appropriate parties with specific skills to actively create the best possible experiences and offers for fans and consumers. “
This doesn’t necessarily mean the end of EA’s soccer franchise as we know it. EA is negotiating licensing agreements with individual clubs and leagues and has recently reached long-term details with FIFPRO, a professional football association that will provide EA with access to the names and likenesses of thousands of players around the world.
The name itself is likely to have the greatest influence. FIFA reportedly plans to charge EA $ 1 billion every four years to keep using its name, which EA has been using since the mid-1990s. EA is reportedly looking into changing FIFA’s name to EA Sports FC in response.
The FIFA statement also opens the door to more competition from other major developers. Right now, the only real competition from EA is Konami’s recently rebranded eFootball, which catastrophically rebooted as a free-to-play release full of glitches and other issues. 2K Sports and Sony San Diego are two of the other big players in the sports gaming business, though none of them have shown any interest in getting into football yet.
In its own statement, EA wrote, “The breadth of our partnerships and our ecosystem of licensed content will allow us to continue to bring unrivaled authenticity to our EA SPORTS football games now and for years to come.” We are also exploring the idea of our global EA SPORTS – Renaming football matches. That means we are reviewing our naming rights agreement with FIFA, which is separate from all our other official partnerships and licenses around the world of football. “
What happens, it seems like the sports gaming landscape is changing dramatically as stakeholders like FIFA realize how lucrative EA’s games can be. In the meantime, you can read our FIFA 22 review right here.
Kat Bailey is IGN’s Senior News Editor and an unfortunate West Ham supporter