FIFA and EA Sports end their two-decade partnership

After almost three years, one of the best sports industry has passed.

Months of controversy between video-game developer Electronic Arts and FIFA, the world’s largest football governing body, have ended without agreement to continue a partnership that has not produced much. game is very popular as a culture.

The current deal, which will end later this year at the World Cup in Qatar, has been modified to qualify for the Women’s World Cup next summer. During the last tournament, the company said that 150 million FIFA video game players will have to use the new name for the series: EA Sports FC.

The game itself will not change much. Most of the world famous clubs and stars will still be able to play due to being allowed to separate with their respective teams and leagues, despite the World Cup itself and other events. which governs FIFA will not be included. However, the continuation of the game does not change the seismic nature of the rebranding.

For millions of people around the world, the FIFA publication is not a real football game but a short term for a video-game that grew to provide a background. for the lives of different players as Premier League professionals and fans alike. Even gamers who have no other relationship to the sport get to know his stars and his team through their digital doppelgängers.

This widespread use has created a strong partnership for both EA Sports and FIFA: The game has generated more than $ 20 billion in sales in the last two years.

But the writing has been on the wall for six months. While the controversy is unrealistic in part for differences in financial expectations – FIFA is seeking at least double the $ 150 million it receives each year from EA Sports, its partner. The biggest business – it was also quickly realized that there were different expectations of what should be included in the new contract.

The agreement was recently signed 10 years ago, but the impact of the year has been marked not only by technological changes but also by controversy. more of FIFA, which almost fell after the Great Depression of 2015. The new FIFA president, Gianni Infantino, has. Trying – and often failing – to open up new revenue streams.

While even speaking directly between Infantino and Andrew Wilson, director of Electronic Arts, failed, both parties agreed to the separation, Wilson said.

“It’s really about how we can do more for the players, more for the fans, we can give them more to play, we can bring the people More involved in the game, how can we expand beyond the traditional games. “” Wilson, whose own organization as an engineer at the game day re behind two decades, said in a telephone interview.

In addition to doubling its license fee, FIFA has also claimed the ability to extend its name to other digital products, including other video products, according to sources. about the words. That proved to be a step towards EA Sports, which is now required to persuade fans of the fan club to get another title.

For FIFA, now is the time to find new ways. But replicating EA games will not be easy.

“If you are breaking up a relationship that goes back more than 20 years there will be consequences,” said Gareth Sutcliffe, a senior’s expert on video editing at Enders Analysis. “EA will continue to: They get all the technology, the practicality of the game, the great football – and it’s great. But what does FIFA have? name. And why? “

Part of EA Sports’ blue in separation FIFA, the organization, from the sport that bore its name for a generation is the steep hurdles any challenger will face in testing EA’s dominance at into the market. His career has grown to cover almost the entire football industry thanks to more than 300 other licenses similar to those of organizations such as UEFA, which runs the Champions League, and assists In-house participation and international competition.

These agreements allow EA to use the names and interests of not only the players but also international organizations and major groups and competitors in its activity. si. The company rushed to its connections on Tuesday; the next time the company announced its takeover, some of the world bigger groups – and some of these least – has confirmed that they have joined EA Sports through FIFA.

As FIFA seeks new partners, more licenses will limit what it can. For example, the world’s two biggest leagues – the English Premier League and the European Champions League – will be available only to players at EA Sports FC.

“EA Sports is a long-term and valuable partner in the Premier League, and we look forward to continuing to work together in the new era,” said Richard Masters, Premier League’s manager. the announcement of its breakup. FIFA. The statement also included speeches by leaders representing the leaders of Europe and South America as well as leaders of the German and Spanish leagues.

Credit …Nick Adams / Reuters

Perhaps pointing to a potential market opportunity, the announcement also includes quotes from Nike. Under its current contract with FIFA, EA Sports has been banned in the market due to FIFA’s poor understanding of its slate of affiliates. Now free of that limitation, Wilson has made it clear that EA Sports will seek partnerships with multiple companies and brands, creating capabilities for direct sales of team jerseys. and other items.

FIFA’s sports industry success has greatly enhanced EA’s ability to promote seasonal sports; Most of the company has made a little more than just a makeover for its offerings – someone familiar with his new team jersey, for example, or a club sponsored by low share – when presented it becomes a new product each year.

“If it weren’t for No. 1, it would have been at the top of our game franchises of all time,” said Sutcliffe, a sports analyst. “And the reason for that is that there are a lot of releases. Every year they change the number on the box, putting the new player forward and it’s just as beautiful under the hood. “

Part of the discussion between FIFA and EA Sports was formed on how the world of digital exchange is changing. New products and games like Fortnite and Roblox are seen as a digital world as much as games, some of which FIFA has been striving to adopt by allowing its name in other products .

EA Sports told FIFA that it would not be planning to reveal the name that makes it world famous in terms of video game market.

“I would say, ‘Just a moment: We’ve spent hundreds of millions of dollars to develop this and you are telling me that Epic Games can come and get a license for the name that we created and we Yes, put it forward and middle and that has become a staple of the game? ‘”Peter Moore, former director of the EA Sports Association, told the New York Times on the phone incident happened for the first time that EA and FIFA could join.

EA’s financial strategy for FIFA has also changed over the years, with gains growing on the back of new developments such as ball players, similar to the paper market. , which wants users to spend money on the game as they search to create the best titles. An in-game analytics firm called Ultimate Team invested as much as $ 1.2 billion in EA Sports last year.

For FIFA, the break with EA Sports, and the loss of its nine licenses, represents a risk to Infantino, which last month announced it would run for a second term. we became president and later he promised more announcements to 211. The football associations that voted in the election. Conflicts, too, have had an impact on FIFA’s business operations. Kay Madati, hired with many fans last summer, go out Last month, after less than a year in the media, became the third leader in the publishing industry since Infantino was elected president in 2016.

Until now, FIFA focused on Qatar World Cup. One thing is for sure at EA Sports, with Wilson promising that the final release of FIFA – the game – in September will be its biggest. He also said he hopes it will not be the last World Cup in EA Sports-based games, given the nutshell by claiming a split with FIFA still possible.

“We need to continue to represent the World Cup through sport,” he said.

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