Chief executive Andrew Wilson allegedly informed his employees in November 2021 that the FIFA licence had “impedimented” his company’s expectations for its football games.
Sources tell Video Games Chronicle that EA’s FIFA games couldn’t be expanded beyond the usual 11 vs. 11 or “broader digital ecosystems” because FIFA (the organization) was keeping them from doing so. Additionally, according to reports, Wilson said that in years when the World Cup was not taking place, FIFA provided EA with little more than “four letters on the top of the box.”
“I’m going to be more honest… more open than I’ve been with the outside world,” Wilson allegedly replied, when asked why EA is considering breaking up with FIFA. The last 30 or so years have been a terrific time for us to work with FIFA. There are billions of dollars worth of value that we’ve generated. We’ve built one of the world’s most popular entertainment brands. I believe the FIFA brand has more importance as a video game than it does as a soccer regulatory organization, and this may be a bit prejudiced. Not only do we not take something for granted, but we also strive to avoid becoming arrogant in our attitude toward that fact. In order to ensure FIFA realize what we need for the future, we’ve worked really hard.
When FIFA appeared to threaten EA’s monopoly on football in a recent episode of their long-running dispute, it was another in a long line of battles between EA and FIFA. In an October 2021 statement, the group declared itself “bullish” on “the future of gaming and esports.” According to the statement, EA’s grasp on the football video game industry looked to be increasing, exceeding its single competition Pro Evolution Soccer. For the rights to the FIFA name, FIFA reportedly wants to charge EA upwards of $1 billion a year.
Due to an expiring 10-year agreement, FIFA 23 may be the final EA Sports football game to use the FIFA logo following this year’s World Cup in Qatar.
Brands like Nike are popular with our gamers, who want them more prominently included in the game,” he says. FIFA has a deal with Adidas, therefore we can’t do it either “Wilson allegedly stated as much. ‘Our users are telling us that they want new forms of play, more things beyond 11v11, and different sorts of games. In order to get FIFA to accept the kinds of things we want to build, they say our licence only covers specific categories. That’s what we have to battle for.”
EA’s ability to respond swiftly to user needs and introduce new features and content is being hampered, according to Wilson. Players tell us that they want us to act quickly: ‘We want you guys doing things quickly.'” We need the flexibility to be genuinely creative, original, and experiment in the marketplace,” Wilson added. I wouldn’t be shocked if we went in another path as an EA and FIFA partnership in the future, but I don’t expect it to happen.