Why FIFA, EA To End Storied Partnership On Hit Soccer Video Game

A new name beckons for the wildly popular series


May 11

Gamers worldwide must adapt to a new reality, as FIFA and EA are at loggerheads.

The partnership between world soccer’s governing body and the maker of the hit “FIFA” soccer video-game series is set to end next year due to their failure to agree to terms of an extension, according to The New York Times’ Tariq Panja. EA announced the split Tuesday in a press release, which also revealed it will release “EA SPORTS FC,” a game containing the player names and likenesses, gameplay, modes and other features 150 million-plus gamers have come to know, next year, albeit without the FIFA branding or events it organizes such as the FIFA World Cup.

“After nearly 30 years of creating genre-defining interactive football experiences, we will soon begin an exciting new era,” EA SPORTS & Racing executive vice president and group general manager Cam Weber said in EA’s announcement. “Next year, EA SPORTS FC will become the future of football from EA SPORTS. Alongside our 300+ license partners across the sport, we’re ready to take global football experiences to new heights, on behalf of all football fans around the world.”

Citing people familiar with the talks, Panja reported money and exclusivity are the driving factors behind FIFA’s divorce from EA.

“In addition to a doubling of its (10-year, $150M) licensing fee, FIFA also demanded the ability to attach its brand to other digital products, including other video games,” Panja wrote. “That proved to be a step too far for EA Sports, which now must persuade legions of devoted fans to get used to another name.”

The FIFA-EA partnership will end next year, following the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which will run between July 20 and August 20 in New Zealand and Australia. “EA Sports FC” likely will debut shortly afterward.

FIFA plans to partner with another video-game developer to produce and release a soccer video game of its own. That likely will come in 2024.

“I can assure you that the only authentic, real game that has the FIFA name will be the best one available for gamers and football fans,” FIFA president Gianni Infantino said. “The FIFA name is the only global, original title.”

Gamers likely will determine whether that’s true.

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