A new wind is about to blow on the console football simulation market. FIFA, the highest body in football, and Electronics Arts, the publisher of the best-selling football video game in the world for nearly three decades, have formalized their breakup, which has been anticipated for several weeks.
From 2023, the famous series will be called EA Sports FC, the consequence of the non-renewal of the license granted by FIFA to Electronic Arts whose current contract, estimated at 85 million euros per year, expires at the end of the year. The publisher refused to accede to requests from FIFA, which was now negotiating its image at a price of between 150 and 250 million dollars per year.
EA promises continuity with EA Sports FC, FIFA seeks competing publisher
The news shook the world of video games. But this change of name will not pave the way for a revolution in terms of content, promises Electronic Arts. The American publisher assures that even if the FIFA license is not renewed, players will still be able to have fun with more than 700 teams and 19,000 footballers integrated into the database as well as most of the flagship competitions, such as the League champions and the Europa League for which EA retains direct agreements unlike the World Cup. Several clubs have also given guarantees on their presence in the game, such as PSG and Real Madrid. EA will also always be able to rely on the FIFA Ultimate Team game mode which has won the loyalty of millions of players in recent years and has become ultra profitable for the publisher thanks to its integrated micro-transaction system.
The separation will be effective next year for the 2024 edition of the game. If it does not call into question the release of FIFA 23 this fall, it announces in the medium term a recomposition of the landscape of the football video game market, largely dominated by FIFA since the decline of its rival Konami, Pro Evolution Soccer, at the dawn of the 2010s. Determined to continue to dig the furrow of its lucrative franchise, the international football federation is currently looking for a buyer to take over from FIFA. Electronic Arts. All eyes are on the prestigious Take-Two Interactive, to whom we owe the Grand Theft Auto saga and the NBA 2K series via its subsidiary 2K Games. “I can assure you that the only authentic and real game that bears the FIFA name will be the best available for football players and fans,” said FIFA boss Gianni Infantino.
UFL, a new competitor to FIFA expected at the end of 2022
Electronic Arts will also have to deal with a newcomer, the UFL game, announced in 2022 on major consoles by publisher Strikerz which promises to offer players a revolutionary gaming experience to hold their own in the face of the unstoppable FIFA. Little has filtered for the moment on the game itself, except that it will be a free-to-play, a free title called to evolve over time in favor additional content sold as options in the form of updates, and that it will offer several game modes centered on the multiplayer experience, with matches in 2 against 2 or 3 against 3.
The idea is to play on the flowerbeds of the FIFA Ultimate Teams mode by offering players to compete with their own personalized teams by choosing from more than 5,000 licensed footballers. Partnerships with FIFPRO, the organization which represents 65,000 professional footballers, and the sports performance analysis company InStat have been announced. UFL also claims a dozen partner clubssuch as AS Monaco, West Ham, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Sporting Portugal, Celtic Glasgow, Glasgow Rangers and Besiktas, and several renowned ambassadors, such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Kevin De Bruyne, Romelo Lukaku, Roberto Firmino and Oleksandr Zinchenko. The first images of the game revealed at the end of January by the publisher, on the other hand, only give a brief overview of the game’s capabilities.