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Electronic Arts has confirmed that it is ending its partnership with FIFA following the release of the next entry in its long-running football series.
After FIFA 23’s release later this year, EA will begin “a new era in July 2023” with the introduction of the EA Sports FC series.
After ending its near 30-year partnership with FIFA, EA said it will launch the new franchise alongside over 300 licence partners.
“Everything you love about our games will be part of EA Sports FC – the same great experiences, modes, leagues, tournaments, clubs and athletes will be there,” said EA Sports general manager Cam Weber. “Ultimate Team, Career Mode, Pro Clubs and VOLTA Football will all be there.
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“Our unique licensing portfolio of more than 19,000+ players, 700+ teams, 100+ stadiums and 30 leagues that we’ve continued to invest in for decades will still be there, uniquely in EA Sports FC. That includes exclusive partnerships with the Premier League, LaLiga, Bundesliga, Serie A, the MLS – and more to come.
“This new independent platform will bring fresh opportunity – to innovate, create and evolve,” he continued. “This is much more than just a change of symbol – as EA Sports, we’re committed to ensuring EA Sports FC is a symbol of change.
“We’re dedicated to meaningfully reinvesting in the sport, and we’re excited to work with a large and increasing number of partners to expand to new authentic experiences that bring joy, inclusivity and immersion to a global community of fans. I look forward to sharing more detail on these plans in the coming months.”
Weber said the company intends to share more details on EA Sports FC next summer.
Prior to that, EA plans to deliver its “most expansive” FIFA game yet. “We are committed to ensuring the next FIFA is our best ever, with more features, game modes, World Cup content, clubs, leagues, competitions, and players than any FIFA title before.”
EA also said the launch of EA Sport FC “will not impact any current EA Sports global football games”.
In its own statement, FIFA revealed plans to launch a rival game to EA Sports FC.
According to the footballing body, discussions are currently ongoing with “leading game publishers, media companies and investors” in regard to the development of a new FIFA simulation football game for 2024, which would directly compete with EA’s new series.
Sooner than that, multiple “non-simulation” games are already under production and will launch during the third quarter of this year, the first of which is described as “a tailored gaming experience” featuring the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
It was first revealed in October last year that EA was “exploring the idea” of renaming the blockbuster games franchise due to a naming rights disagreement with world football’s governing body FIFA.
According to a New York Times report published the same month, negotiations between the pair stalled due to EA’s desire for more rights, and FIFA’s alleged demand for EA to double its payment for the licence to $2.5 billion over the next decade.
More recently, in comments provided anonymously to VGC, EA CEO Andrew Wilson implied in an internal meeting that the company was indeed ready to move on from the FIFA licence and could even thrive without it.
He told staff that the FIFA licence had been “an impediment” to EA’s ambitions for the game series.
Wilson claimed that the football governing body was holding EA back from providing players with long-desired modes, going as far as calling FIFA ‘just the name on the box’.
“Our players want us to expand into the digital ecosystem more broadly… our fans are telling us they want us to go and participate in that space,” he said.
“Our FIFA licence has actually precluded us from doing a lot of this stuff. Again, 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.”