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The company insists that despite losing the FIFA brand, its games will not change that much. Thanks to over 300 licensing deals, “the same great experiences, modes, leagues, tournaments, clubs and athletes” will be included in EA Sports FC, it said.
In its own statement, FIFA said that the split from EA will allow it to launch new football video games developed with third-party studios and publishers, “providing more choice for football and gaming fans” in the lead-up to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023.
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According to the footballing body, discussions are currently ongoing with “leading game publishers, media companies and investors” in regard to the development of a new FIFA simulation football game for 2024, which would directly compete with EA Sports FC.
Sooner than that, multiple “non-simulation” games are already under production and will launch during the third quarter of this year, the first of which is described as “a tailored gaming experience” featuring the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
Additional projects are also under discussion with publishers ahead of next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup, it said.
In a strongly worded statement, FIFA president Gianni Infantino insisted that only games carrying its official license would be credible to fans of football.
“I can assure you that the only authentic, real game that has the FIFA name will be the best one available for gamers and football fans,” he said.
“The FIFA name is the only global, 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 remain THE BEST.”
He added: “The interactive gaming and esports sector is on a path of unrivalled growth and diversification. FIFA’s strategy is to ensure we can make the most of all future options and ensure a wide range of products and opportunities for gamers, fans, member associations and partners.”
It was first revealed in October last year that EA was “exploring the idea” of renaming the blockbuster games franchise due to a naming rights disagreement with world football’s governing body FIFA.
According to a New York Times report published the same month, negotiations between the pair stalled due to EA’s desire for more rights, and FIFA’s alleged demand for EA to double its payment for the licence to $2.5 billion over the next decade.
More recently, in comments provided anonymously to VGC, EA CEO Andrew Wilson implied in an internal meeting that the company was indeed ready to move on from the FIFA licence and could even thrive without it.
He told staff that the FIFA licence had been “an impediment” to EA’s ambitions for the game series.