FIFA 23 will go down in history as a landmark game for many reasons. Not only will it feature the 2022 FIFA World Cup official game mode, a tournament in which OddsChecker has made Brazil the favourites to win, but it will also be the final game in EA Sports’ blockbuster franchise. The Canadian games producer and world football’s governing body were unable to come to terms on a licensing contract renewal, meaning that the September release will be the 61st and final game made under the FIFA name by EA Sports.
The producer has confirmed that their game will live on under the name EA Sports Football Club. But what of FIFA? Well, president Gianni Infantino said this upon the announcement of the split: “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. The FIFA name is the only global, original title.” That’s quite the statement. So who are the contenders to manufacture the next FIFA series?
The early front runner appears to be 2K Games. The California-based outfit has been producing sports games for a number of years now, with their basketball franchise – NBA 2K – being the market leader. They are also the sole rights holders to WWE and have been building the WWE 2K franchise since 2013. If FIFA lands in the hands of 2K Games, then the chances are that the game will be taken to new heights, with complaints surrounding EA Sports’ last few installments receiving underwhelming reviews.
This would be a huge step down in our opinion. The Japanese game producer’s Pro Evolution Soccer franchise used to be a legitimate rival to FIFA, especially when they held the rights to the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, and European Championships. But their recent games under the name eFootball – the successor to Pro Evolution Soccer – have been a laughing stock, with Konami not able to get new players even when releasing the game for free.
Ah yes, the classic U-Turn. It seems that the primary reason that FIFA and EA Sports are going their separate ways is down to money. The governing body – which has come under fire for financial-related issues many times in the past – is thought to have wanted as much as $1bn for a four-year rights deal, a price that EA Sports was simply unwilling to pay. But if Infantino and co. reduce their demands, or the Canadian company increases its offer, don’t be surprised to see this as water under the bridge this time next year.