When you think of a sports video game, one name comes to mind more frequently than any others – FIFA.
The franchise has been in existence for almost 30 years, having been first released back in December 1993. But all this brand recognition and heritage didn’t stop Electronic Arts from ditching the FIFA name in favour of the much more bland “EA Sports FC” from 2023.
The name change comes after EA and FIFA, the world governing body for football, failed to reach an agreement for the rights to use the organisation’s name, branding, and competitions.
This has left a lot of fans asking why it happened and what’s going to change in the game. But it’s also going to affect the whole football gaming landscape, so let’s examine that.
FIFA Isn’t the Only Football Game
While it can feel like that sometimes, EA’s FIFA is not the only football-themed game available for fans to enjoy, though it does offer a lot of realism and officially-licensed players.
There is also a wide spectrum of different options that you can choose from, including management titles, casual games, and football-inspired live casino games that combine classics like roulette with side bets based on the beautiful game.
While they may not be affected by EA’s decision directly, the company’s promise to be innovative in its offering could reshape the football video game landscape.
A Look at EA Sports FC
To understand what’s going to change, we first need to understand what EA Sports FC is going to look like. In many respects, the 2023 release is going to have much of the same look and feel to it as the final FIFA game when it hits shelves in the coming weeks.
EA doesn’t generally make radical changes to its sports games from year to year because there simply isn’t the time for its team to do that. Developing a major AAA title from scratch can take a 250-strong team at least two or three years but FIFA and EA’s other games are refreshed for each new season.
We don’t currently have any firm details from the company as to what it plans to do with its rebranded franchise in the future, but there are some clues in the statements it released.
In May 2022, the company’s CEO, Andrew Wilson said that their research found that players of the game wanted “more modalities of play” and that the game should “move beyond just the core experience” and become an expanded “digital football experience”.
Now, the second half of that sentence is incredibly vague and mostly just full of buzzwords but the first part is pretty easy to nail down.
It suggests that EA plans to expand the game with new features that it believed FIFA was preventing it from doing.
What are these features? We won’t know until the company makes some announcements or there are leaks.
Stepping on Toes?
However, the developers of existing football games might have reason to worry. Freed from any supposed restrictions placed on it by the governing body of the sport, EA could expand its title to include features found in other popular releases.
For example, Football Manager, one of the most popular football games outside of FIFA could be a source of inspiration. It wouldn’t be too difficult for Electronic Arts to replicate this concept into the new EA Sports FC title and take advantage of the existing licensing deals for team, player, league, and stadium names and intellectual property.
Other modes that have a more arcade feel could also be included or even cross-platform functionality that lets players There are already plenty of casual football titles available for mobile, including Head Football, Final Kick, and World Soccer League.
With EA’s dominance in the space, it could very easily cannibalise the market for these smaller titles if it began offering similar playing experiences within its wider football ecosystem.
Entirely New Concepts
It may be unfair to suggest that EA is only planning to take inspiration from existing titles in its planned expansion of its football franchise. It is more likely that the company is working on entirely new ideas too, though there are no details about this yet.
However, wider trends in the video games market may shed some light on this. For example, virtual reality gaming is slowly gaining ground and both EA and some of its rivals have expressed interest in including NFTs into their games.
What About FIFA?
FIFA has announced its intention to find a new partner to create football video games with. While it’s not entirely clear what these titles will look like or who the development partner will be, we can probably expect it to at least try to replicate the bulk of the experience in the current EA games.
Regardless of what it does, FIFA working on a separate game to EA means that fans are going to have even more choice in addition to what’s already available.
It will also likely mean we’ll get separate games for the World Cup, though it might be too late for the 2022 edition, so fans will have to wait until 2026.
See More: Top goalscorers World Cup 2022 odds
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