It would be reasonable to assume that the release of FIFA 22 in late September was cause for celebration for EA Sports and FIFA. What’s not to like about another successful debut of one of the world’s most popular sports franchises? Behind the scenes, the two factions have been debating the franchise’s future for quite some time. All of this came to a head when EA stated that the franchise’s name would be changed. According to a later story, FIFA has asked EA to double the price it pays to put the FIFA brand on the box.
In the midst of all of this, another bombshell was revealed over the weekend. FIFA will abandon its exclusivity agreement with EA and consider licensing its name to other companies. Since the 1990s, EA has had an exclusivity agreement with FIFA and has used its brand on the box of its soccer/football games. With the speculations of a name change and now this, it seems safe to assume that will be ending in 2022 when the licensing arrangement expires.
Apart from money, FIFA and EA are said to have had the most issues over how the franchise should be developed in the future. While FIFA wants to retain the simulation franchise as just that, a simulation franchise, EA is rumored to want to take it further with in-game highlights and possibly NFTs. One topic that came up frequently in FIFA’s announcement about their lack of exclusivity for future publishers was eSports.
FIFA will take a new commercial stance in gaming and eSports in order to be in the greatest position to make decisions that benefit all football stakeholders.
FIFA is optimistic about the future of gaming and eSports in football, and it is apparent that this is a domain where several parties must share ownership of all rights.
Companies in the technology and mobile industries are vying to be affiliated with FIFA, its platforms, and worldwide championships.
As a result, FIFA is collaborating with developers, investors, and analysts to formulate a long-term strategy for the gaming, eSports, and interactive entertainment industries.
It appears that both businesses believe they can do a better job with a soccer/football simulation game if they are no longer exclusive partners. The word “exclusive” is crucial here because it does not necessarily imply the end of FIFA in EA Sports games. We may see FIFA branding in some areas of EA’s future games unless FIFA strikes an exclusivity agreement with a rival business, such as Konami or 2K Games. It would no longer be exclusively theirs to use. We might now see FIFA in Pro Evolution Soccer for example, and it may also encourage other companies to develop soccer/football games. This may end up being the best outcome for fans that just want to play good games and don’t care about exclusivity rights.