This year’s FIFA will be the last
Electronic Arts has announced that its partnership with FIFA is coming to a close. The video game publisher confirms today that after over two decades, EA will be splitting off and making its own series, dubbed EA Sports FC.
The rebrand will take effect in 2023, so this year’s virtual soccer title will still be under the FIFA name. Then, in summer 2023, the EA Sports FC franchise will become the new franchise.
In a blog penned by Cam Weber, the EVP of EA Sports and Racing, the publisher confirms that many aspects of their previous soccer games will remain intact. This includes Career, Pro Clubs, Volta, and of course, Ultimate Team. The licensing will still remain in effect too, including partnerships with the Premier League, LaLiga, Bundesliga, Serie A, and the MLS.
Weber writes that this independent platform will bring an opportunity to “innovate, create, and evolve.” The publisher is looking to increase the number of partners it works with, and expand to “new authentic experiences.”
The long game
The writing has been on the wall for this move. Earlier this year, VGC reported that EA CEO Andrew Wilson was looking at breaking off its relationship with FIFA. According to VGC’s sources, Wilson called the FIFA license an “impediment” to Electronic Arts’ ambitions.
Weber had even floated the idea of EA Sports football without FIFA involved in a letter last year. “As we look ahead, we’re also exploring the idea of renaming our global EA SPORTS football games,” Weber wrote at the time. “This means we’re reviewing our naming rights agreement with FIFA, which is separate from all our other official partnerships and licenses across the football world.”
Despite tensions mounting, this is still a major shift for the sports scene. After one more year of FIFA football, the series will be moving to a new name. Seems like we’ll have to wait until next year to hear if the changes amount to more than a name, however. EA says it will share more info about its new era in summer 2023. Until then, I suppose there’s always FIFA 23.