End of an era: EA Sports loses FIFA exclusivity after three decades

FIFA announced its plans to end a three-decade-long exclusivity partnership with video game giant EA Sports in a shocking move

FIFA has suggested it’s open to working with new video game companies, as tension mounts with EA Sports regarding future licensing agreements.

EA Sports recently published a forward-looking press release celebrating FIFA 22 that included the shocking admission that it was considering renaming the long-running series, which was followed by reports that talks with the sport’s governing body had stalled.

FIFA responded: “FIFA will adopt a new commercial positioning in gaming and eSports to ensure that it is best placed to make decisions that benefit all football stakeholders.

FIFA is bullish and excited about the future in gaming and eSports for football, and it is clear that this needs to be a space that is occupied by more than one party controlling all rights,” FIFA said in the announcement.

On the face of it, it appears like both companies feel they can do better with a football video game if they are no longer partnered with each other on an exclusive basis.

In this sense, Electronic Arts will no longer be the only developer who will have the rights on FIFA video games for your titles, so FIFA, as we know it, would cease.

It’s not entirely clear what issues are at the core of the disagreement, though FIFA is reportedly looking to double the cost of its licensing fees – $1bn every four years – while EA is looking to expand the use of the license itself to video game tournaments, NFTs and other digital products.

EA Sports has long dominated the digital football scene with its FIFA franchise. Competitors like eFootball, formerly known as Pro Evolution Soccer, have paled in comparison for years.

With the current 10-year licensing agreement ending after the 2022 World Cup, though, it is expected that a resolution will be found over the next few months.

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