Every gamer is aware that there are two video games that get annual releases and that would be Call of Duty and FIFA. However, fans of the latter series may be confused to see that their beloved football simulator has been replaced by EA FC 24. So why have FIFA developers, Electronic Arts (EA) dropped its affiliation with the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), and is anything actually changing with the new title? Here’s everything you need to know about the video game ahead of its 13 July reveal event.
The partnership between FIFA and EA Sports was instrumental in getting the sports sim off the ground upon its initial release in 1993, since it provided much needed brand recognition to the up and coming football title. Despite the association with the federation, EA still has to negotiate licensing with the respective teams and leagues themselves and as such, the inclusion of FIFA in the video game title provided little other than an assurance that this is the most popular football game on the market.
Despite a decline in the weight that the FIFA name actually holds, having been outgrown by the strength of EA itself, it was reported by SportsPro that the football board wanted its annual fee doubled to $300 million in 2021. Additionally, it is alleged that because of this partnership, EA was limited in sports titles it could release and the esports tournaments it could host, as well as being unable to release non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for the game.
A blog post from October 2021 was the first sign of trouble for FIFA and sure enough, in 2022, it was announced that EA would soon drop the once eponymous title from its football sim, a name which has since been marred by numerous controversies—including, for example, the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar despite the country’s long list of human rights violations.
The move could be a potentially huge blow for the organisation, which had 60 per cent of its annual revenue in 2021 made up by licensing agreements, (like the lending of its name to EA).
Outside of no longer having an affiliation with the FIFA organisation, fans should expect very little to change in the new iteration of EA’s acclaimed football series.
The video game developer has extensive agreements with the world’s leagues and teams, like Spain’s LaLiga and Europe’s UEFA Champions League, meaning all your favourite players and kits will appear in EA FC 24, exactly as they did in older FIFA games.
Fans of Ultimate Team, EA’s highly addictive, competitive team-building online mode can rest assured that the feature will also be present. The online mode which invites users to open packs and build the best team possible with the players at their disposal while also trading with other gamers in an online marketplace, has long been a mainstay of EA’s sports franchise and has proved immensely lucrative for the company. It’s safe to say that it won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.
There’s a good chance we’ll see a release date for the game company’s new endeavour at its reveal event on 13 July, until then, sit back, kick some virtual balls, and get hyped for the next generation of soccer video games.