With the release of FIFA 23, the final game in a football series that has enthralled millions of fans for the past three decades, one of the biggest franchises in video gaming history will come to an end.
The licensing arrangement that has supported the game since its debut in 1993 was the subject of months of negotiations between US video game developer Electronic Arts (EA) and the world football governing organization FIFA.
Several years after introducing female players, EA has finally integrated women’s club teams, but only from England and France, in the final version.
Along with French World Cup victor Kylian Mbappe, the game’s cover features English league player and Australian superstar Sam Kerr.
“It is — and remains — one of the most popular franchises in all of gaming,” said Tom Wijman of Newzoo, a company that examines market statistics.
Both EA and FIFA run the danger of the separation because neither can be certain that their new endeavors will be successful.
However, analysts assert that as a result of spending 30 years creating and promoting the game, EA is in a stronger position.
Over the course of its three decades, the company claimed that FIFA had sold more than 325 million copies, generating an estimated $20 billion in sales.
Out on a high
The business consequences didn’t upset players as much as they just wanted to play the newest game release.
Professional eSports athletes lined up to webcast their initial tries, some of whom make hundreds of thousands of dollars per game.
“One of my favourite videos ever,” one of the best eSports players, Donovan Hunt, tweeted a link to a YouTube video of his initial attempt.
On Wednesday, Swedish gamer Olle Arbin livestreamed his initial effort for 12 hours.
The game’s graphics have improved since the previous version, and reviews have lauded new features like the “power shot” for adding new gameplay elements.
“FIFA 23 sees the series bow out on a high, and provides encouraging signs for the debut of EA Sports FC this time next year,” Ben Wilson wrote on the specialist site GamesRadar.
The $300 billion video gaming market is thought to have recently gotten more cutthroat as the biggest corporations have been acquiring many of its rivals.
With a $5.6 billion revenue last year, EA is one of the largest game developers still operating independently of Tencent, Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo.
The proposed four-year contract with FIFA was terminated after the football organization reportedly increased its license price demand from $150 million to $250 million.
EA will no longer be able to use the FIFA name or events like the World Cup, but it will still be able to use player names and non-FIFA events like the English Premier League, giving it a significant advantage over its competitors.
The company, both on and off screen, was already shifting more and more in favor of club tournaments.
The following year, it will begin a five-year sponsorship of La Liga, Spain’s top division, for an estimated 30 to 40 million euros annually.
“EA Sports FC” has a decent possibility of succeeding, according to Wijman of Newzoo.
“Losing the FIFA brand may hurt EA’s chances somewhat, but they have the game engine, development teams, marketing expertise, and branding expertise,” Wijman said.
FIFA’s estimated $1 billion demand may make it difficult for it to entice new partners, according to Wijman.
In any situation, but particularly if you then have to compete with EA to create the most well-known football game, it would be a “risky endeavor,” he claimed.