FIFA Leaves EA: 10 Most Likely Changes To The Franchise

After a massively successful partnership of almost thirty years, it has been confirmed that FIFA and EA Sports are no longer going to be creating soccer video games together. FIFA 23 will be EA Sports' final contribution to the FIFA franchise, although they will continue to create soccer video games under a brand new title, EA Sports FC.

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BBC News reports that the decision to part ways came after a contract renewal negotiation between EA Sports and FIFA, where EA Sports deemed FIFA's asking price for the use of the 'FIFA' branding to be too high. The two companies are now going to progress without one another, with FIFA planning to continue the iconic franchise with another developer and EA Sports continuing with EA Sports FC, so what might EA Sport's 'new' soccer game look like?

With EA and FIFA going their separate ways after failing to agree on terms of a renewed contract, EA is now forbidden to use any 'FIFA' branding. In light of this, it has been confirmed by EA's vice-president, David Jackson, that the company will continue to release soccer video games, but under the title EA Sports FC.

As it stands, it is unclear how EA Sports will progress in terms of yearly title changes. EA has a few options, such as EA Sports FC 24 (referencing the year of release), EA Sports FC 1 (referencing the debut installment into the franchise), or simply just EA Sports FC.

Given that FIFA owns the rights to the World Cup, EA Sports will no longer be able to include officially licensed World Cup content in the games going forward.

This is quite a big loss for EA, seeing as the World Cup is the biggest sporting event in the world. However, EA will still be able to include a parody of the tournament in future releases, although the company will have to refer to it by an alternative title. Many companies will be looking to claim the FIFA license, and would certainly provide serious competition with EA Sports FC.

As it stands, EA Sports are licensed to use the likenesses of over 19,000 players, as well as the kits, badges, and stadiums of over 700 clubs. EA are able to use official likenesses and branding as a result of the licensing deals that they have struck with soccer leagues, clubs, and players, however, these agreements do not last forever.

With FIFA planning to continue making soccer games as a rival to EA Sports FC, EA may lose out on licensing agreements to FIFA in the future, meaning the potential omission of some of the world's biggest clubs and most famous players from future games. Losing the license for some of the best Premier League players in FIFA would certainly be a huge loss to EA.

While EA’s split with FIFA may hinder the company’s ability to maintain licensing agreements with leagues, clubs, and players for future titles, it may also mean that EA can strike deals that were previously not possible while partnered with FIFA.

This means the EA Sports FC players may enjoy players and clubs that have not been available in previous iterations of the franchise. These newly licensed players are likely to come in the form of new FIFA Ultimate Team Icon cards, which is an exciting prospect for all fans of the franchise.

Having severed its creative ties with FIFA, EA now has the opportunity to develop new partnerships or even reignite old relationships with past collaborators.

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EA has worked with many developers throughout the decades, so there is every chance the services of one of these companies may be called upon again. EA’s recent partnership with Microsoft may also come into play going forward, particularly with Microsoft fully aware of how profitable the soccer franchise can be.

The competitive FIFA scene has been growing in popularity at an exponential rate in recent years, with many professional soccer clubs having their own FIFA Esports player to represent them on the virtual stage.

Given the increase in visibility, EA is likely to develop more robust Esports features in the future, such as Esports-related challenges, game modes, and in-game live streams of Esports matches.

The launch of EA Sports FC will undoubtedly come hand in hand with a greater focus on streaming, with EA almost certainly wanting to capitalize on the exposure that comes with streaming video games.

In light of this, EA is likely to make it easier for users to create, stream, and view gameplay from within EA Sports FC. This may come in the form of additional in-game tools to record gameplay and share it to streaming platforms, or even to create their own platform for content creation altogether.

Given that EA Sports’ FIFA games were released on a yearly basis, in alignment with the real-life soccer season, EA might consider a switch to a subscription-based service.

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This would mean that the title of EA’s game would remain the same each year, and instead of a whole new game release, EA Sports FC would receive a vast yearly update that would implement all of the same features that a new release would. With a subscription-based model, instead of having to buy the game every year, players would just pay a yearly subscription fee, giving them access to the yearly update.

Given the fact that EA Sports has saved itself millions of dollars by not signing a new agreement with FIFA, it is fair to assume that at least a portion of that money will be invested into the development of EA Sports FC.

If EA does decide to invest the extra money into their new soccer game, fans should expect EA Sports FC to be the greatest soccer game ever made, or at least, the most expensive soccer game ever made. EA might also consider making other games using the extra funds, although at this time it is too early to speculate on potential projects.

With EA having decided to change the name of their iconic soccer franchise to EA Sports FC, many fans are left wondering what this means going forward in terms of the game itself.

The new title points to a more comprehensive soccer experience, with players prompted to imagine that they are a part of an all-encompassing soccer fellowship. With the way that the world is evolving, the lines between reality and the virtual universe are becoming increasingly blurred, so might fans expect EA Sports FC to permeate the real-world soccer landscape in the coming years?

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