Electronic Arts has announced that the developer is considering removing the “FIFA” title from the soccer series. If this move takes place, we may not see FIFA 23, with the result that the newly released FIFA 22 will remain the last game in the series to bear the FIFA tag.
This does not mean that EA Sports may stop releasing football games altogether, which is one of the developer’s most popular series of annual games. However, if a decision is made, future football matches from 2023 may simply not be named FIFA-XX (where XX stands for the year) and may be given a different name.
The reason for the same seems to be to save money on the licensing of the game, which could mean that the same resources can be used elsewhere.
EA posted Blog post dedicated to fans of the FIFA series, mentioning the decision and also adding that FIFA 22, launched on October 1 this year, has already surpassed 9.1 million players and 460 million matches in less than a week since its release.
EA continues to discuss the future of the series in a post, as well as that the developer is “exploring the idea of renaming our EA SPORTS global soccer games.”
“This means that we are revising our name rights agreement with FIFA, which is separate from all of our other official partnerships and licenses throughout the football world,” it said.
What does this mean for the franchise and the players?
It appears that EA is considering terminating the name rights agreement with FIFA. However, as mentioned in the blog, the developer can still continue all other official partnerships and licenses, including with tournaments and leagues such as the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, CONMEBOL Libertadores, Premier League, Bundesliga and La Liga Santander, among others.
“The breadth of our partnerships and the ecosystem of licensed content will enable us to continue to deliver the unmatched authenticity of our EA SPORTS football games, now and for years to come,” added the blog post. This means that even though the series has been renamed, nothing special could change in the gameplay, nor in the officially licensed game modes that are likely to remain.
PES has taken a similar step this year.
Conami Pro Evolution Soccer, or the PES series, was the only competition in the FIFA series in many years. However, after the series was renamed eFootball this year amid a strategic shift to a free-to-play model, the game reportedly turned out to be terrible. Days after the announcement, eFootball 2022 is now the worst-rated game on Steam according to Hall of Shame Steam 250 page.
With almost no competition at all, and with sales looking strong for its latest expansion, it looks like now is the right time for EA to experiment with the future of the series, which could start with a renaming of the series, probably from as early as next year.