FIFA? The last game? Please, tell me it's not true! OK - it's not exactly, but something strange is happening.
We recently had a bit of a scare: we heard that there wouldn’t be a FIFA 23 game. What? Really? Yeah! Kind of – it’s complicated. Anyway, I can hear your heart racing through your chest at the prospect of the FIFA games ending, so I am going to clear the air. Here goes:
The truth is that EA is considering an adjustment in the naming rights of the game with FIFA, meaning that the game would no longer be called FIFA. What does this mean? We’ll come to that, but I want to reassure you first. To start with, it is not like FIFA 22 was a complete game anyhow; Juventus, Lazio, AS Roma and Atalanta were all re-named, their truancy down to licencing deals with another game. Talk about infidelity!
What will remain?
So, what would stay the same? EA would still maintain over 300 partners to give us 17,000 athletes to play with, 700 clubs to manage, 100 stadiums to play in and 30 leagues to top. A public proclamation from EA Sports Group General Manager Cam Weber stated that FIFA 22 had 9 million players in its first week, a good 80% of them had already created an ultimate team. FIFA 22 was on boards around the world, topped many European, particularly the home of Football, the UK, for several weeks. Weber went on to say this:
'Through years of building our global franchise, we also know that authenticity is essential to the experience. That’s why we focus so much energy on the collective strength of over 300 individual licensed partners that give us access to 17,000+ athletes across 700+ teams, in 100 stadiums and over 30 leagues around the world… As we look ahead, we’re also exploring the idea of renaming our global EA SPORTS football games. 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.’
What's going to change?
OK – that’s all good and well, but would anything change? Somewhat. No World Cup related competition would feature in the game, but competitions like the Champions League would remain so long as UEFA stick around. That would really be the greatest difference bar a name a change to the overall game – seems FIFA isn’t as integral to the series as we thought. Could FIFA 23 be better without…FIFA?
Troubles with FIFA
FIFA, the Federation Internationale de Football Association, has been mired by controversies for years now, just recently Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini were charged by the Swiss with fraud. That really isn’t ‘in the game’. Not a good tagline for any business. Is that the primary reason? Probably not, the cost of licensing is likely the culprit over the breakdown of relations. Money talks.
Who else could get involved?
Here’s an interesting question: will anyone else look to take the opportunity in their stride? UEFA? Or will EA change the FIFA series to something proprietary? Regardless, FIFA said they were ‘set to widen gaming and esports portfolio’ – could we see another gaming series finally rival what FIFA today is? Or is this a desperate attempt to retain some credibility? A rebound? We all saw Konami’s disastrous eFootball launch, it’s not exactly easy to create a gargantuan in this industry, it’s been 28 years of yearly FIFA games, starting with FIFA International Soccer ’94. EA are certainly the king of the hill for now, and likely will be for some time, but that doesn’t stop us postulating on any shock surprises, does it? One Reddit user named CosmicDesperado even guessed the new game would be called ‘Harry Kane Ankle Injury Simulator’
For all we know, this could simply be EA posturing up to FIFA and letting them know they are replaceable. Perhaps we will see a FIFA 23 game after all. Maybe now we ought to consider if that would be such a good thing? We know FIFA are very concerned with increasing income, but perhaps they are right to try and intervene against EA’s monopoly on the industry? Maybe, EA and FIFA need to do a penalty shoot-out, whoever wins pays up.
Images sourced from Steam.