EA's CEO Reportedly Wants to End FIFA Partnership

A 10-year agreement between FIFA and Electronic Arts is set to come to an end this year, and it could mean big changes for the publisher’s soccer games. Apparently, EA CEO Andrew Wilson had a number of interesting things to say about the franchise during an all-hands meeting held in November 2021. According to Video Games Chronicle, Wilson told employees that the FIFA name has essentially become “four letters on the front of the box,” arguing that the brand has actually prevented EA from doing more things that fans would like to see included in the game.

“In a World Cup year of course, we get access to the World Cup, but in the broader context of global football on an annualised basis, the World Cup is important but it’s not the most important. We have 300 other licenses that give us the content that our players engage with the most and the most deeply.”

Wilson argues that dropping the FIFA brand for future soccer games would give the company more freedom, while its existing partnerships would allow the game to retain most of the elements that people enjoy. EA and FIFA’s dispute over the brand began last year. Apparently, EA wants more freedom for the series, including the ability to add more modes and options, and to do it in a quicker fashion. Meanwhile, FIFA is looking for more money for the branding; the soccer body wants $2.5 billion over the next 10 years.

Regardless of what happens, the next soccer game from EA will be named FIFA 23. Beyond that, however, the future is unclear. If EA does decide to rename its soccer franchise, it could lead to a situation where EA makes its own soccer game, while another publisher releases FIFA 24. That brings to mind the situation where Marvelous lost the rights to use the Harvest Moon name in North America, and Natsume continued making its own games under the name. That situation forced Marvelous to change the name of its existing series, leading to confusion for customers that don’t follow the intricacies of the gaming industry. Something similar could happen with FIFA and EA, where customers continue buying the FIFA branded product, despite the fact that EA’s game would simply have a different title.

Of course, it’s far too early to tell, but the fact that Wilson made these comments in an internal meeting suggests that this option is on the table for EA. For now, fans of the FIFA games will just have to wait and see how things play out!

Would you be opposed to EA selecting a different name for the FIFA series? Do you think the branding is important? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!


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