Fifa is the world’s biggest sports video game series, with Fifa 21 selling a whopping 325 million units alone last year. However, a two-year-long series of disagreements between the game’s developers (Electronic Arts (EA)) and the chief footballing organization (Fifa) could see the future of the series be launched in the air as soon as the next edition.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Fifa/EA split and whether or not the Fifa series as the community know it could be coming to an end.
A Guaranteed Money-Maker
EA and Fifa have been working in collaboration for thirty years on the Fifa games, with the trademarks, images, stadiums, etc. supplied by football’s chief organization helping the series become the most successful sports game in the world.
Fifa 21’s overall sales of 325 million units were worth three times more than Fifa’s closest rival, Pro Soccer Evolution, and the series has bagged over $20 billion in sales since it was first launched in 1996.
The continued expansion of online game modes such as Ultimate Team has also helped with the rise of microtransactions, resulting in sales of over $1.2 billion last year for EA.
However, Fifa has also gained from its commercial deals with EA, with their licensing agreement with the game developers being the most profitable to the organization, worth $150 million each year.
Why There’s A Split Emerging
So, if both companies are sitting on a guaranteed money-maker every year, why is this lucrative partnership suddenly on the rocks?
According to the New York Times, Fifa arrived at the negotiating table ahead of their upcoming renewal asking for more than double what EA are used to pay, demanding $1 billion every four years for the rights to their names, likenesses, and licenses.
There have been rumors of the two companies disagreeing on how far their license agreement can stretch, with EA keen to use the Fifa license to promote real-world highlights and competitive Esports events.
It was also reported that Fifa are keen to start exporting their various licenses to other players in the gaming space, with Epic Games’ Fortnite constantly being the name bandied about.
The Future Of The Series
Cam Weber, executive president, and general manager of EA Sports has already mentioned in the past that the company are already contemplating a name change across their game library:
“As we look ahead, we’re also exploring the idea of renaming our global EA Sports football games.”
EA already own the name ‘EA Sports FC’, which has led to some speculating this could be the future name of the series if the license agreement with Fifa falls through.
Of course, EA already own a plethora of video game franchises across the sports world, including Madden, NBA2K, and PGA Tour for the American Football, Basketball, and Golf markets, so this one agreement dropping could be what prompts a library-wide naming upheaval.
With so much in the air still, it’s hard to say what a ‘Fifa’ game without Fifa will look like exactly. Officially Fifa licensed tournaments such as the World Cup will no longer be in the game, however, EA still have a small army of agreements with other governing bodies such as UEFA, Major League Soccer and the Premier League, meaning that it looks to still be advantage EA in this split.
However, with the recent reports that Fifa 22 sales have fallen 35% compared to last year, it begs the question of whether either party would be smart taking the risk by going it solo now.