Hey Sports Tech Fans,
Well the big news of the week had been building in the background for upwards of a year.
FIFA and EA Sports are parting ways after almost 30 years together producing the best selling sports game in the world.
As of 2020 there has been more that 260 million copies of the game sold and iis almost double the next best selling sports game, another EA Sports classic, Madden NFL at 130 million copies sold.
I first reported on the potential split almost a year ago as rumours of a split started to appear.
The rumour at the time was that FIFA was seeking a $1 billion fee to extend the contract and while EA sports are saying that is not the only reason for the ending of the partnership, which will conclude after FIFA 2023 comes out, it is hard to believe that at face value.
If the terms were more modest I don’t think there was any real reason for a split.
Part of EA Sports reasoning is that FIFA wanted to do deals with the likes of Fortnite and Roblox to licence their name and content in those games, leaving EA Sports at a loss as to why they should pay so much for an exclusive deal in their eyes that wasn’t so exclusive if other game publishers could licence the name and content from FIFA.
What happens now is very interesting.
EA Sports will continue to make a soccer (football) game and look to be calling it EA Sports FC.
EA Sports have been busy with tying up deals with leagues like the Premier League and the Champions League so they will have official rights to portray players, stadiums, logos etc. in the game while it looks like FIFA’s new offering won’t.
FIFA are said be launching their own game in 2024 with 3rd party developers so it is a very risky move by FIFA, in my opinion as players of the game want good game play as well as official name, image and likeness of the players and teams they adore.
EA Sports will now have more room to innovate on multiple aspects of the game. A big one is in partners from the sports world, namely Nike.
With FIFA having a long standing partnership with Adidas, there was little room for trying new things and including non FIFA partners into the game.
There is now a carte blanche in many respects for EA Sports to innovate.
The FIFA Ultimate Team, or FUT, the in game purchase of player packs is said to be worth $1.1 billion a year to EA Sports.
That is a huge money maker and with NFT deals being done with leagues like the Premier League, La Liga etc. there is huge room for expansion of this revenue stream.
Can EA Sports maintain this revenue if their customer base diminishes? Can FIFA’s new game complete with the strong branding and customer knowledge of FUT?
The rights to certain teams, leagues, stadiums logos etc. will be a mess as deals will be done with EA Sports, FIFA and eFootball (formerly known as Pro Evolution Soccer).
So gamers and finds might be the ones to suffer but ultimately they will be the king makers as they will decide which is better and buy the game that appeals to them.
A story from EA Sports earlier this month might have a big part to play in deciding who wins, the introduction of cross play.
Cross play allows people to play against people on a different gaming console. So Playstation gamers can play against Xbox players, while PC gamers can play against Google Stadia’s game streaming service users.
It is still early days as the testing has just commenced but that could be a huge technology integration that makes for a better gaming experience for gamers as they will have a larger user base to play against and can play against friends despite having a different console.
This will be a fascinating story to follow over the coming months and years.
Have a great sporting weekend,