Yesterday saw the inevitable closure of one of gaming’s most expensive ongoing licenses. After a 30-year branding relationship, EA Sports finally parted ways with the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, better known globally by the instantly recognizable acronym, “FIFA.”
Following three decades of annually successful football simulations, Electronic Arts announced that this year’s FIFA 23 will be the final title to carry the football association’s branding. The series will be retitled EA Sports FC from 2023 onwards. This legendary turn of events has come about due to the two companies’ inability to come to terms on a license fee for the next iteration of releases, with FIFA reportedly asking for double its initial licensing fee, rumored to amount to some $2.5 billion USD.
In response to the news, FIFA president Gianni Infantino released a statement informing fans that the FIFA brand will continue, with new titles being potentially produced by a variety of different studios. Perhaps a little loftier, Infantino also went to some length to assure fans that FIFA’s own football sims will be the best and most authentic games within the sub-genre.
“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,” stated Infantino. “The FIFA name is the only global, original title. FIFA 23, FIFA 24, FIFA 25 and FIFA 26, and so on — the constant is the FIFA name and it will remain forever and remain THE BEST.”
While one cannot fault Infantino for his… passionate response, the fact of the matter is that FIFA did not develop those titles for three straight decades — EA did. The game — the beautiful game, as it were — lies within the hearts, heads, and hands of the EA Sports team. While FIFA undoubtedly gets to be the “official” football sim, EA Sports has the pedigree, the legacy, and the knowledge to make fast-track, fast-return, annually developed titles.
EA knows this, sponsors know this, fans know this and, ultimately, FIFA knows this.