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After negotiations with the soccer governing body broke down, EA Sports lost the rights to use the "FIFA" brand in soccer video games


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theScore esports

One of the world’s most popular video games is about to undergo a major rebranding, after world soccer governing body FIFA and gamemaker EA Sports failed to reach an agreement to continue a nearly 30-year partnership that produced annual FIFA-titled video games.

FIFA 22 game boxes are seen at a store in Krakow, Poland, on December 30, 2021.

Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Key Facts

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A deal between FIFA and EA Sports to produce the games will expire after next year’s Women’s World Cup, though EA will continue to produce a soccer series called EA Sports FC.

EA has released soccer video games under the FIFA moniker every year since 1993, and has regularly released special editions during men’s FIFA World Cup years.

EA Sports FC video games are expected to largely remain the same as FIFA releases due to more than 300 licensing agreements EA has with clubs and leagues around the world, but FIFA events like the World Cup will no longer be included.

EA said in a statement Tuesday directed to the 150 million FIFA video game users that “everything you love about our games” will remain the same under the rebranded title, including popular features like “Ultimate Team, Career Mode, Pro Clubs and VOLTA Football.”

Key Background

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Tensions had built for months as EA and FIFA worked to hash out a new contract, according to the New York Times. A major point of contention was FIFA’s demand to double its licensing fee, which was already $150 million a year, the Times reported. FIFA also reportedly pushed EA to develop its game into a broader digital world, like what Roblox and Fortnite have created, but EA executives pushed back on keeping the FIFA title if it were to innovate a next generation of its soccer series.

Crucial Quote

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“This was an amicable decision between EA and FIFA, and we’re thankful to FIFA for their years of partnership,” EA spokesman Eric Escaravage said in a statement to Forbes. “For us, we have a vision for a fan-first future of interactive football and to bring that vision to life, we felt it was best to chart our own path under our own brand.” FIFA did not respond to a request for comment from Forbes.

Big Number

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More than $20 billion. That’s how much in sales FIFA video games have generated during the past two decades, according to the Times.

What To Watch For

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The 2022 FIFA World Cup kicks off in Qatar on November 21 and runs through December 18.

Further Reading

VIDEO: Why EAFC 24 Is A Bad Game
Dagnal Diagonal

FIFA and EA Sports End Two-Decade Video Game Partnership (New York Times)

U.S. To Face England And Iran In Return To Soccer World Cup (Forbes)


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