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EA Sports Ends Partnership With FIFA, Will Still Release 2023 Game, per Report

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After nearly 30 years, the end of an era has come.

The partnership between EA Sports and FIFA has reportedly come to an end after the two sides failed to come to an agreement on extending their business relationship, according to Tariq Panja of The New York Times. The current deal will end at at the completion of the women’s World Cup next summer.

Once the deal expires, the video game series once known as FIFA will go by a new name: EA Sports FC.

The biggest change to the game will be that the World Cup itself and other FIFA-controlled events will not be featured, though most players and clubs will still be usable. Still, it’s a notable rebrand for a series that’s reportedly generated more than $20 billion in sales over the past 20 years.

According to Panja, FIFA received $150 million per year from EA Sports, and was seeking to more than double that payout. Due to that chasmic gap, this resolution is not viewed as particularly surprising.

FIFA released a statement saying that it had “diversified its gaming rights” and would be launching new games with third-party studios. FIFA president Gianni Infantino said that, going forward, the FIFA name would be attached to the “only authentic, real game” on the market.

“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,” Infantino said. “The FIFA name is the only global, original title. FIFA 23, FIFA 24, FIFA 25 and FIFA 26, and so on - the constant is the FIFA name and it will remain forever and remain the best.” 

In a statement, EA Sports announced the EA Sports FC title as the “future of football” for the company, saying that the new venture plans to “take global football experiences to new heights.”

While EA Sports has set out its path ahead for a new soccer video game, the options for FIFA present a different challenge. The company has the infrastructure to continue on, while FIFA will have to find a new partner to create a similarly viable product.

“If you’re breaking a relationship that goes back over 20 years there will be consequences,” said Gareth Sutcliffe, a senior analyst specializing in the video games sector at Enders Analysis. “EA will continue to motor on: They have got all the technological smarts, the creative implementation of an absolutely fantastic football game — and it really is fantastic. But what do FIFA have? Their name. And then what?”

FIFA 23 is expected to be released in the fall of this year.

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