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FIFA is losing its name (but FIFA is losing more)

Latest NewsFIFA is losing its name (but FIFA is losing more)

Promotional image of the new EA SPORTS FC™ game to be released by Electronic Arts in 2023.adviser

For millions of people, thinking about “FIFA” means thinking not about the body that governs football, but about the Electronic Arts video game of that name, released 30 years ago. To tell the difference between the two, you would have to look at the “FIFA” or “FIFA” article, but that’s where the annoyance ends. Their agreement was broken, and from 2023 the game will be called “EA Sports FC”. The soccer sim is losing its name, but who’s worse off?

Come on, I’m one of those people who think of the game when I hear the acronym. I played the first version as a child, on Mega Drive, and I don’t remember if it was also on Mega CD, what would it cost, but this fall I hope to play FIFA 2023. Along the way, 30 years will disappear, in another reminder that video games already have their own history.

FIFA has become a phenomenon. It’s one of the ten best-selling franchises, along with generic brands such as Mario, Tetris, Pokémon or Minecraft. It has sold 30 million units in 2021 and has 150 million players in its community. This is Electronic Arts’ stellar game, which is the sixth largest distributor in the world with an annual revenue of around $5,500 million – for reference, it earns half that of Seat (9,200) and a fifth of Mercadona (25,000). although it brings four times more benefits than the first and a little more than the second.

FIFA’s success is based on its online Ultimate Team mode, where players compete against each other by managing a team with real football players they receive throughout the season, as if they were exchanging cards. This is a community of forums, apps, guides and famous youtubers. Also business. This is a pay-to-win mode (pay-to-win) because you can use real money to buy controversial packages in which you will hopefully get a copy. Nearly a third of EA’s revenue comes from in-game payments, which are a potential Metaverse-type source.

What happened now? The agreement between EA and FIFA has been violated. Electronic Arts was paying 150 million a year to use World Cup brands and lucky acronyms, but now FIFA was asking for double the amount. In addition, he did not want to exclusively cede certain digital rights, which are becoming more valuable every day, according to The New York Times. EA thinks their name isn’t worth that much – or that its absence is a weakness, they can now afford a replacement – and while I can’t judge the economic amounts, I think they’re right.

The bottom line is that EA is not losing anything significant. They preserve the three fundamental elements of FIFA: the technology and knowledge needed to create the best possible game, a huge community of players, and most delicately, the rights to include real players.

It’s nice to be able to play for Manchester City and Barcelona on your console, but the most important thing is the athletes. Controlling a doll that looks like Benzema, Salah or Canales not only with its appearance, but also with its movements and abilities. When you play FIFA, managing a French striker feels different than playing Vinicius, who is lightning fast and a good dribbler, but who doesn’t have his shot or his vision. Playing with real football players who are different from each other is the franchise’s unique attraction. EA knows about it, and therefore they have it tied up. They say goodbye to the FIFA acronym, but leave hundreds of license agreements signed with clubs, leagues and competitions, and even historical players, so you can handle Henry or Butranho.

FIFA 22 Imageelectronic arts

EA’s show of strength was felt the day it announced it was ending its deal with FIFA. They came out to say that the major leagues and the best clubs in the world are still with the company. This was done by the Premier League (“EA Sports is a valuable and long-term partner”), the Spanish La Liga (“We are committed to partnering with EA”) or UEFA (“We want to continue our relationship”). And this was done by dozens of clubs such as Madrid, Atlético, PSG or City, who almost unanimously tweeted: “We are at the #EASPORTSFC club.”

FIFA’s response has been less impressive. Its president, Gianni Infantino, announced that they would develop another football sim to compete with EA. But he spoke with a certainty that had the opposite effect on me: skepticism. “The only real, authentic game bearing the FIFA name will be the best available to gamers and fans. The FIFA name is the only global and original name. FIFA 23, FIFA 24, FIFA 25 […] the constant is the FIFA name, and it will remain forever and continue to be the best.” It’s as if Infantino thought his initials were a spell that would make a great video game that negates the complexity of a competitive, sophisticated, and expensive industry. Hundreds of people appear in FIFA 2022 credits.

In short, I believe that EA will painlessly change the name of FIFA and that EA Sports FC will continue to be a success. At the same time, FIFA can also make more money. They think that exclusivity limits their options, they want to “diversify” and bring more plural games to market, which could well increase their profits, at least initially, using the fact that the FIFA brand is associated with a good game on the market. 30 years. This is a paradoxical reality: who told whom?

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