FIFA and EA: The Uncertain Future of Football Video Games
FIFA and Electronic Arts (EA) have had a tumultuous relationship, and the latest news of FIFA developing its own video game titles without the help of the seasoned soccer developer is causing concern in the gaming world. Gianni Infantino, the president of FIFA, announced that the organization will be continuing the FIFA video game franchise, which was previously developed by EA. He said that FIFA 25, 26, and 27 "will always be the best egame for any girl or boy." However, this move has left many wondering whether FIFA has what it takes to produce a high-quality football game that can compete with EA's FIFA franchise.
The split between FIFA and EA was a public one, with both parties airing their grievances with the other. EA claimed that FIFA wanted double the reported $150 million license fee in exchange for the naming rights and the ability to officially include the World Cup. FIFA remained quiet on their reasoning, but it's speculated that they wanted a bigger chunk of the £1.15 billion EA pulled in from FIFA Ultimate Team.
After the breakup, EA announced that they wouldn’t make another FIFA after FIFA 23. Instead, they would be releasing EA Sports FC, a football game designed by the FIFA team but with EA owning the whole lot. Infantino, speaking on behalf of FIFA at the time, said "The FIFA name is the only global, original title," and added "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."
While FIFA's decision to develop their own titles moving forward may not be a total surprise, the football governing body is soon going to find themselves struggling to find people that can make a AAA football title for modern consoles. EA has developers with years of experience making football games, and it’s a team of people that live and breathe football. They have managed to make FIFA the only football game out there, and it’s not easy to replicate that kind of success.
The question now is, who is going to make FIFA's new franchise? While many developers would be keen to get a money hose as profitable as the FIFA franchise, being able to make a football game with the mass appeal of EA's FIFA attempts is no easy task, especially starting from scratch. Very few other studios are actually shipping footie games these days, which leaves FIFA with limited options.
Competition is crucial to encourage everyone involved to bring their A-game. While each FIFA title has brought meaningful improvements, the lack of success for Konami's competing eFootball (formerly PES) brand means there are no challengers to keep EA honest when they launch EA Sports FC. It would be great to see new opposition getting involved, but FIFA may face an uphill battle to establish itself as a serious contender in the football video game market.
In conclusion, FIFA's decision to develop their own video game titles without the help of EA is a bold move. However, the road ahead will not be an easy one, as the football governing body will need to overcome technical challenges and find the right team of developers to create a high-quality football game that can compete with EA's FIFA franchise. The success of FIFA's new franchise will depend on whether they can create a game that captures the essence of football and appeals to a wide range of gamers and football fans.