author: Jacob Blazewicz
FIFA Without FIFA in Title - Rebranding Could be Good for Gamers and EA
Electronic Arts may give up its official FIFA license, which CEO Andrew Wilson was said to have said could be beneficial to both the publisher and the gamers.
When Electronic Arts informed fans about the possible abandonment of the FIFA license, it was supposed to be due to financial reasons. As it turns out, other factors may have come into play as well.
Video Games Chronicle reached the information about the alleged statement of Andrew Wilson. During an internal meeting in November last year, the president of EA allegedly stated that the FIFA license limits the possibilities of the creators of the football series.
FIFA without FIFA means more freedom for EA...
As a reminder, the New York Times newspaper reported that the main issues with continued usage of the FIFA license is the organization's stance, which now demanded EA to pay twice the amount for the right to use the name. What's more , the organization wanted to limit the contract with the publisher only to sports games (which, as it turned out, was related to plans to cooperate with other developers).
However, Andrew Wilson was also said to have given other reasons for considering dropping FIFA from the titles of the next installments of the football series.
- According to Wilson, the FIFA license is hardly profitable outside of the years in which the World Cup is played. As he stated, in any other year EA gets "just four letters on the box, in a world where most people won't even see the box because they buy the game through digital distribution."
- The World Cup itself, while important, isn't the most important thing to Wilson, as the company has "over 300 other licenses" through which to attract gamers. Wilson also believes that the FIFA series can be considered more recognizable than the organization itself, though he admits that may be a biased statement (albeit somewhat justified by the series' results).
- EA's president was also to point out the specific benefits of dropping FIFA in the name. The license limits the developers if only in terms of marketing, preventing partnerships with certain brands that players would like to see. Nike was cited as an example (FIFA promotes Adidas).
... and more options for players and developers
Of course, EA's financial calculations are unlikely to appeal to most gamers. However, Wilson also points to benefits that may be of interest to fans.
- The FIFA license is supposed to make it difficult to change gameplay, such as adding new game modes, which wouldn't require specifically 22 players.
- The same applies to various elements that cannot be added quickly (or not at all) because they must first be approved by FIFA, which takes a long time. Thus giving up the license would enable EA to move much faster with new additions to their football series.
"The FIFa license has prevented us from doing many of these things. Then again, FIFA is just a name on a box, but it didn't allow us to get into the areas gamers expected."
FIFA vs. EA - it's too early to burn the bridges
Electronic Arts' current agreement with FIFA will expire in 2023, so the publisher has relatively little time to make a decision. As recently as November 2021, Wilson was said to have assured that he was not prejudging parting ways with the football organization, although at the end of the day it could prove beneficial:
"We're going to work on it, we're going to think about it, and we want to be good partners for FIFA. However, I wouldn't be surprised if we end up going in a different direction. I think in the end it might even be better for our players than continuing to stick with the four letters on the box."
We have no information on the current status of talks. In October last year, the publisher registered EA Sports FC" trademark, but there is still no confirmation of its association with the FIFA series. EA also declined to comment on VGC's reports.