FIFA is plotting to make its own football video game after ending its three-decade partnership with EA Sports.
The governing body assured fans that the “only authentic game” bearing its name will be developed with other studios.
FIFA chief Gianni Infantino has hit back at EA Sports
EA Sports confirmed on Tuesday that the popular FIFA series will be rebranded EA Sports FC next year.
The publisher has split with FIFA following licensing disagreements with football’s world governing body.
The next edition of the franchise, FIFA 23, will be the final game in the series as we know it.
Launched in 1993, a generation of millions of football fans and gamers across the globe grew up playing FIFA.
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It’s now one of the world’s most popular video game franchises and a huge money-spinner.
But “months of tense negotiations” between California-based Electronic Arts (EA) and governing body FIFA failed to end in an agreement to extend the partnership, The New York Times reported.
FIFA reportedly wanted the $150million it gets annually from EA to be increased to $250million or more.
EA CEO Andrew Wilson found the cash demands untenable, and once said FIFA offers little more than “four letters on the front of the box.”
The game has more than 150million player accounts, according to EA, and The New York Times said it had generated more than $20billion in sales over the past two decades.
No major changes to how the game plays are anticipated and EA said that it has retained relationships with other leagues and associations, such as UEFA, the Premier League and Spain’s La Liga.
That means its new franchise will still feature most of the world’s top teams, leagues, stadiums and players.
However, FIFA events such as the World Cup will not feature.
“Our vision for EA Sports FC is to create the largest and most impactful football club in the world, at the epicenter of football fandom,” Wilson said Tuesday.
“For nearly 30 years, we’ve been building the world’s biggest football community with hundreds of millions of players, thousands of athlete partners, and hundreds of leagues, federations, and teams.
“EA Sports FC will be the club for every one of them, and for football fans everywhere.”
Ditching Fifa will allow EA to introduce live event streaming and other in-world events that have been popularised by sandbox-style games like Fortnite.
“In the future our players will demand of us the ability to be more expansive in that offering,” EA Sports executive David Jackson told BBC News.
“At the moment, we engage in play as a primary form of interactive experience.
“Soon, watching and creating content are going to be equally as important for fans,”
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FIFA swiftly responded by saying that it will launch “new football video games developed with third-party studios and publishers”.
“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,” said its president Gianni Infantino.
FIFA is one of the world’s most popular video game franchises
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