In a jaw-dropping move, EA Sports will officially abandon the FIFA license for its line of football titles, beginning with 2023’s game. The publisher has flogged its soccer sims as FIFA for almost 30 years, but has decided to part ways with football’s international governing body. Following the release of FIFA 23 later this year, the series will be henceforth known as EA Sports FC.
It’s imperative to note that this won’t affect EA Sports’ long-running relationship with leagues like the Premier League and Champions League, meaning that EA Sports FC will continue to feature real teams and players from all around the world. While the World Cup – which is scheduled to take place in Qatar later this year – will be included in FIFA 23, it won’t feature in EA Sports FC moving forward.
In order to reinforce the message about licensed teams to fans, EA Sports has partnered with a number of clubs, including Liverpool, to confirm that – yes – they’re in the club:
And it’s even released statements from executives at some of the world’s biggest leagues, like the Premier League, to reiterate their commitment. Guy-Laurent Epstein from UEFA, for example, made the following comment: “With a shared commitment to serve football fans around the world, we look forward to our continued partnership with EA Sports FC to provide players with authentic in-game experiences featuring the club competitions they love.”
EA Sports says that the breakaway from FIFA will give it the opportunity to innovate and crucially evolve. In addition to the enormous asking fee FIFA was demanding to extend the FIFA license, there were reports that the organisation was preventing the publisher from being as nimble as it would have liked to be. This is because any additions or updates to the game had to pass approval.
“This is much more than just a change of symbol – as EA Sports, we’re committed to ensuring EA Sports FC is a symbol of change,” a statement explains. “We’re dedicated to meaningfully reinvesting in the sport, and we’re excited to work with a large and increasing number of partners to expand to new authentic experiences that bring joy, inclusivity, and immersion to a global community of fans.”
EA Sports will have a huge marketing challenge on its hands over the coming years, but in the meantime it still has another FIFA to flog in the form of FIFA 23. “We are committed to ensuring the next FIFA is our best ever, with more features, game modes, World Cup content, clubs, leagues, competitions, and players than any FIFA title before,” it says.
More information on FIFA 23 will be announced later this summer, and then it’ll be all hands on deck for the first iteration of EA Sports FC next year. “The future of the sport is very big and bright, and football fandom is reaching across every corner of the world,” the statement continues. “Global football has been part of EA Sports for nearly thirty years – and today, we’re ensuring that it will be for decades to come.”