The news has been in the works for a while and rumors have been circulating about the change for the past few months, but now it’s official.
Previously, FIFA had an exclusive licensing agreement with EA, meaning only they were allowed to create soccer video games with FIFA’s branding and logos.
That contract was due to end this year, but a “short-term extension” was reached, meaning FIFA 23 will be the last EA title to be FIFA-branded.
Here’s everything you need to know.
Why did the deal end?
Corresponding The New York Timesthe disagreement between EA and FIFA is largely one – EA pays FIFA around US$150m (£121.6m) a year for the rights and FIFA tried to renew the deal for more than double that amount.
They also clashed over the scope of the rights.
FIFA wanted the freedom to explore options outside of their agreement with EA for video games, while EA wanted to retain control of everything FIFA-related in the gaming sector.
What is EA Sports FC?
So the studio will continue to work on football games, only they won’t be released under the “FIFA” banner.
Instead, they will be known as EA Sports FC, a new “independent platform” that EA is touting as “the future of football.”
In a press release on its official website, EA said the games will continue to feature all the official names and stats we’ve come to expect from the FIFA games, thanks to a “unique licensing portfolio of more than 19,000+ players, 700+ teams, across 100 stadiums.” and 30 leagues.
“This includes exclusive partnerships with the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A, MLS – and more to come.”
In terms of the core game itself, EA Sports has allayed fan concerns that moving away from the FIFA brand would mean a drastic overhaul, saying “everything you love about our games will be part of EA Sports FC.”
This includes “the same great experiences, modes, leagues, tournaments, clubs and athletes,” it says.
“We are committed to meaningful reinvestment in esports and look forward to working with a large and growing number of partners to create new authentic experiences that bring joy, inclusiveness and immersion to a global fan base.”
Will FIFA 23 be the last FIFA game ever?
While the headlines are screaming that this year’s edition of the game could be its last, fans of the 30-year series needn’t worry too much.
FIFA has confirmed that it will continue to publish games under the “FIFA” banner in the future.
If anything, this is not only good news for FIFA fans, but for fans of all football games, as it means that not only will we likely get FIFA 24, 25 and beyond, but also the new EA Sports FC series that already existing eFootball games (formerly known as Pro Evolution Soccer).
As of FIFA 24, the franchise might look a bit different under a new developer, but if FIFA takes the opportunity to shake up the formula a little, most fans would probably welcome it.
It would be easy to assume that the ‘official’ FIFA matches will still sport all the official team, player and stadium branding that has made them the ‘definitive’ football experience since 1999, but that might not be the case.
EA Sports says the “licensing portfolio” in which it has invested “for decades” will be “uniquely” available in EA Sports FC.
FIFA responded with its own rebuttal from President Gianni Infantino, who said: “I can assure you that the only authentic, real game to bear the FIFA name will be the best for gamers and football fans.
“The FIFA name is the only worldwide original title. FIFA 23, FIFA 24, FIFA 25 and FIFA 26 and so on – the constant is the FIFA name and it will remain forever and will remain THE BEST.”
What could future FIFA games look like?
Rumor has it that FIFA is already collaborating with other third-party developers on several fresh new football games that could be released as early as the third quarter (i.e. between July and September) of this year.
To Qatar“>polygonthe above-mentioned renewal between FIFA and EA “awards rights only for the football simulation category, freeing up broader gaming rights for FIFA and other gaming publishers to bring new games to market.”
“Simulation” refers to the more realistic representation of the sport in the FIFA series and means that other developers are already free to create non-simulation games – like the overly stylized FIFA Street games.
FIFA announced on Tuesday May 10 that “a number of new non-simulation games are already in production” and are expected to be released this fall.
FIFA also said it was in talks with potential partners for projects related to the 2023 Women’s World Cup, which will be hosted in Australia and New Zealand next summer.
When the first non-EA FIFA simulation game is released, FIFA hopes to launch a FIFA branded simulation football game again in 2024.
FIFA said it is currently working with leading game publishers, media outlets and investors on the project.
When is FIFA 23 coming out?
Before all that, though, there’s a new game in FIFA form that we’re all very much looking forward to.
Although the release date has not yet been officially confirmed, FIFA 23 is predicted to be released on September 30, 2022.