Next year’s FIFA won’t be called FIFA anymore, EA announced Tuesday. The mega sports franchise is parting ways with soccer’s international governing body and will be renamed EA Sports FC, but EA promises nothing else will change.
“Everything you love about our games will be part of EA SPORTS FC—the same great experiences, modes, leagues, tournaments, clubs and athletes will be there,” the company wrote in its announcement. Modes like Ultimate Team, Career, Pro Clubs, and VOLTA will all remain, alongside licenses to the biggest national leagues including Premier, LaLiga, and Bundesliga and all of the players, teams, and stadiums contained therein.
But while it’s claiming nothing will be lost with the shift from FIFA to EA Sports FC, the publisher is also pitching the new branding as an opportunity to create something new. After years of iterative cash-ins and the growing emphasis on exploitative loot boxes, I’ll believe it when I see it.
The name change won’t go into effect until 2023. In the meantime, EA still has FIFA 23 coming out later this year, a full reveal for which is likely to take place in the next couple months. EA released its first FIFA for the Sega Genesis way back in 1993.
According to reports last October, negotiations between EA and FIFA had gotten messy. EA wanted to expand the license into areas like NFTs, while FIFA wanted to retain more control so it could partner with other companies. In the end, it seems, EA wasn’t interested in paying the $1 billion price tag that was allegedly being requested to extend existing exclusivity deal.
In a couple years we will likely get to see how the biggest sports franchise in gaming fairs without its iconic name. Given the corrupt mess that FIFA (the governing body) has been, the larger entity was surely getting more out of the branding deal than gaming publisher EA was.
The series, which is an annual best-seller, will probably do just fine, especially if competitors like Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer, excuse me I mean eFootball, continue to struggle like last year’s dumpster fire.