Electronic Arts Spins Losing FIFA Rights, Future Plans Soccer Games – The Hollywood Reporter

Electronic Arts, the venerable video game company, is facing a turning point in its major sports division. The company announced Tuesday that it is parting ways with FIFA once the next game in the franchise is released, ending a 20-year partnership that has led to the world’s most popular soccer video game. gender.

So even though the company reported strong earnings on Tuesday and outlined its plans for what happens next after FIFA, the FIFA deal remains its primary concern.

We’ve been working to address this,” EA CEO Andrew Wilson said on the company’s earnings call, preparing the company’s plans.

On Tuesday, EA said it would create a new football brand called “EA Sports FC,” which will leverage the more than 150 million user accounts that EA has secured through its FIFA games. EA already has contracts with UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, CONMEBOL Libertadores, Premier League, Bundesliga, LaLiga, Serie A and MLS, among others. All of those leagues (and EA CEO Andrew Wilson notes, their 19,000 athletes) will be part of EA Sports FC.

“We are very excited about the future of football. When we think about the future of football right now, we make decisions based on the experiences our players want,” Wilson said, adding that the company will have many partners. more and “more ways to play”.

The fans, Wilson said, want EA to “go beyond just the core experience and really build this football experience, and they want us to move fast.”

EA Sports FC will instead create more tailored experiences in local markets, if needed, such as LaLiga in Spain, the Bundesliga in Germany and the Premier League in the UK.

FIFA, meanwhile, stressed the flexibility it now has, once its deal with EA has ended. The organization says it has been developed on “non-simulated” FIFA-branded games (think more animated games, like NBA Jam franchise is an NBA simulation game) for release later this year. It is also transitioning to a “non-exclusive licensing model” and “is currently engaged with leading game publishers, media companies and investors involved in the development of a simulation football game.” new FIFA interview for 2024.”

“I can assure you that the only authentic game named FIFA will be the best game for gamers and football fans,” said FIFA president Gianni Infantino. “The FIFA name is a unique, original global title. FIFA 23, FIFA 24, FIFA 25 and FIFA 26etc – constant is FIFA name and it will be forever the best. ”

However, the impact of FIFA games produced by EA Sports is hard to ignore. While there’s still one to go (EA Sports FIFA 23, to be released later this year), will feel its loss. EA cited FIFA as the main growth driver in full game pre-orders, with FIFA 22 was the “most successful” in the game’s 20-year history.

FIFA, meanwhile, benefits from EA’s long history in sports simulation games, including Madden NFL franchise, as well as licensed games for the NBA, NHL, Formula 1 and UFC. More partners means more games, but if the games don’t live up to the high standards of EA’s FIFA games, it could backfire.

And whoever FIFA chooses to produce the upcoming simulation games, they will have to build something from the ground up and compete with EA’s new FC product, with EA using football simulation technology in two his decade to transition to the new FC brand.

For the quarter, EA posted total revenue of $1.82 billion and net income of $225 million, up from $1.35 billion and $76 million a year earlier. The company also issued guidance for fiscal year 2023, expecting net sales of $7.6-$7.8 billion and earnings of $793 million to $815 million.

The company also said that it does not expect to return to the Russian market at this time.

Going forward, the company considers FIFA 23 a high point.

“We have worked closely together as two organizations to ensure that we can look forward to having the biggest FIFA this year that we have ever hosted,” said Wilson. “We worked to do that because we thought it was important to our fans.”

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