According to reputable games media outlet VGC, EA (Electronic Arts) CEO Andrew Wilson has told employees that the FIFA license has been an ‘impediment’ for EA Sports’ growth, but still plan to release FIFA 23 this year.
EA Sports are still planning to release FIFA 23 this year, but it may be the last EA Sports game to use the FIFA name.
Reputable gaming news outlet VGC are reporting that EA CEO Andrew Wilson has told employees that the FIFA brand and licence has been an ‘impediment’ to EA Sports in recent years, in what is the clearest indication yet that the relationship between EA and FIFA might be coming to an end in the near future.
VGC are also reporting that, according to their sources, EA are still planning to release FIFA 23 this year, the follow up to FIFA 22, with the game set to include content around two FIFA World Cup tournaments, men’s and women’s.
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In comments provided anonymously to VGC, Wilson told employees in an internal meeting in November that “the FIFA brand has more meaning as a video game than it does a governing body of soccer” and that “what we get from FIFA in a non-World Cup year is the four letters on the front of the box”.
According to the same article, Wilson also claimed that the FIFA licence has been an ‘”impediment” to EA Sports in regards to the growth of their franchise and that “FIFA is just the name on the box, but they’ve precluded our ability to be able to branch into the areas that players want.”
Wilson’s comments indicate that he believes EA could benefit from ending it’s relationship with FIFA, after over 30 years of EA Sports FIFA games, in what would be a seismic shift for EA, FIFA and fans of the game.
The public negotiations between EA and FIFA started on October 7, 2021, with EA releasing a statement stating that they were considering whether not to renew their licensing agreement with FIFA, which could prompt a name change for one of the biggest video gaming franchises in history.
“As we look ahead, we’re also exploring the idea of renaming our global EA SPORTS football games,” Said the EA Statement.
“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.
“The future of football is very big and very bright. Our priority is to ensure we have every opportunity to continue delivering the world’s greatest interactive football experiences.”
FIFA responded with a strong statement of their own on October 15, 2021, hinting that they could make their own game instead and aiming a dig at EA Sports.
“FIFA will adopt a new commercial positioning in gaming and eSports to ensure that it is best placed to make decisions that benefit all football stakeholders,” said FIFA in a statement on their website.
“FIFA is bullish and excited about the future in gaming and eSports for football, and it is clear that this needs to be a space that is occupied by more than one party controlling all rights.
“Technology and mobile companies are now actively competing to be associated with FIFA, its platforms, and global tournaments.
“Consequently, FIFA is engaging with various industry players, including developers, investors and analysts, to build out a long-term view of the gaming, eSports and interactive entertainment sector.”