After nearly thirty years of creating football video games together, it has been officially confirmed that football’s global governing body FIFA and video game creator EA Sports are ending their partnership.
Since its first release in 1993, the FIFA video game series has become a colossal franchise and a true cultural phenomenon, generating billions of dollars in revenue and attracting millions of players. After continuously extending their partnership, FIFA and EA Sports have reached a dead end. Both parties will be going separate ways, with the upcoming FIFA 23 being the last title they will release together this autumn.
What happened, and what will the future of football video games bring?
A three-decade-long partnership is coming to an end
A lot has changed ever since the first FIFA video game was released in 1993. It was the first game EA Sports and FIFA created together, and laid the foundation for what would become a massive commercial and critical success.
FIFA initially helped EA Sports establish the game in the minds of a massive audience, but thanks to a lot of exclusive arrangements, EA now doesn’t rely on the governing body for brand awareness. EA has secured more than 300 licences, which include 19,000 players, 700 teams, 100 stadiums and 30 leagues.
With that, it could be argued that EA Sports has outgrown the governing body. Furthermore, the publisher wanted more freedom to create new game experiences. FIFA, however, felt like their exclusivity with EA was limiting their potential to pursue other opportunities. They reportedly also wanted to double their annual fee to $300 million. With those obstacles, FIFA and EA did not come to an agreement, ending their nearly 30-year-long partnership.
What’s next for the publisher and governing body?
Once the licensing agreement between FIFA and EA Sports ends at the end of the year, EA’s licences will continue to stay under the publisher’s brand. While FIFA 23 will be the last title the two parties release together, as of next year, EA Sports will publish their simulation games under a new banner: ‘EA Sports FC’.
FIFA says it will be releasing its own game and continue the series with FIFA 24, FIFA 25, and so on. They will likely team up with another third-party video game developer to create their own take on a new football simulation game under the FIFA banner.
However, EA Sports holds most of the exclusive rights with teams and players. With these licences and EA’s expertise in the genre, FIFA has held the throne in the world of football simulation. No other competitor, not even the best football games on the market, has been able to keep up.
Football keeps its position in video games
It will be exciting to see whether FIFA will release a new simulation game that will be able to hold a candle to the current game series, and if EA’s new game will flourish under the new banner. But with both parties releasing new football games, one thing is for certain: football is keeping its position in the gaming world.
It’s not just EA’s and FIFA’s future simulation games or Konami’s eFootball that push the sports genre forward, as football is also present in many games of different genres. For instance, football fans can find a plethora of casual games in the app stores to play on their mobile phones on the go. Games such as Score! Hero, Rumble Stars, and Blocky Soccer allow for short game rounds on mobile devices.
Similarly, classic games such as slot machines which have been inspired by the popular sport offer casual entertainment with short game rounds. As many online casinos offer a wide range of online slots with all kinds of topics, players can try and choose the one they like the most. To help new players find the right game, platforms offer promotions such as free spins where players can try games without betting real money. Experts review and rate the latest casino bonuses to help users find the best platform. Some of the best-rated ones offer slots such as Football Star Deluxe and Football Champions Cup, which bring the football game onto the reels. These show how football has long carved out its own space in the world of games.
With FIFA and EA Sports splitting, a three-decade-long era is coming to an end. While both parties will still be releasing football simulation games as of next year, it will be exciting to see which direction their games will go.