(REUTERS): Electronic Arts (EA) has parted ways with world soccer governing body FIFA after a near three-decade partnership and pulling the plug on one of the world’s most successful video-game franchises.
In a statement, EVP and group GM for EA Sports & Racing, Cam Weber said: “This new independent platform will bring fresh opportunity – to innovate, create and evolve. EA SPORTS FC will allow us to realize this future and much more.”
The gaming company will retain its teams and player likeness because of separate license agreements with global soccer leagues in England and Spain.
On the other hand, FIFA acknowledged that it had granted EA a one-year extension to release the FIFA 23 video game this year. This new video game features upcoming men’s and women’s World Cups that FIFA organizes.
The global soccer governing body is now seeking to develop new games with third party studios and publishers in the next two years. The soccer league is already planning for a “major new” FIFA game in 2024.
Gianni Infantino, FIFA President said: “I can assure you that the only authentic, real game that has the FIFA name will be the best one available for gamers and football fans. FIFA 23, FIFA 24, FIFA 25 and FIFA 26, and so on — the constant is the FIFA name and it will remain forever and remain THE BEST.”
FIFA was the largest revenue maker for EA Sports, where the company admitted that “revenue from our FIFA franchise, including the annualized console and PC game is material to our business and will continue to be so.” New York Times estimated the revenue from the FIFA franchise generated in the past two decades was $20 million.
FIFA was seeking at least double the $150 million it received annually from EA Sports, its biggest commercial partner, the New York Times reported, adding that there were different expectations of what should be included in a new agreement.