After almost 30 years, EA Sports and FIFA are parting ways and EA will chart a new future under the name, EA Sports FC. Aside from the name change, the lack of a licensing deal means there could be some changes to the tried-and-true FIFA formula.
In an interview with the BBC, EA Sports vice president David Jackson says that the deal with FIFA wasn’t just for the name, but included a set of licensing restrictions that EA no longer has to abide by. This could free the company to explore more interactive and fan-focused gameplay content.
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“Under the licensing conventions that we had agreed with Fifa 10 years ago, there were some restrictions that weren’t going to allow us to be able to build those experiences for players,” Jackson says.
Those experiences include both watching and creating content, possibly similar to how players can watch screenings of trailers in Fortnite and create custom modes and maps.
The deal with FIFA is set to end partially because of money. It was previously reported that FIFA upped the price for its license to over $1 billion per four-year World Cup cycle and Jackson admits money was a factor in the decision to rename the franchise, though isn’t the full reason behind the split.
“Money plays a critical role in most negotiations, but the reason we are doing this is to create the very best experiences we can for both players and partners. As part of that you consider whether or not your investment in one place is better or worse than an investment in another.”
While EA will lose the rights to the FIFA name, the company has signed up 19.000 athletes, 700 teams, 100 stadiums, and over 30 leagues including the Premier League, Bundesliga, La Liga, and UEFA, so players can still expect real team names and players.
There will be no World Cup content every four years, but the main leagues and players will remain. EA is set to have a financial earnings report later today where we’ll likely hear more on EA’s plans for EA Sports FC.
Matt T.M. Kim is IGN’s News Editor. You can reach him @lawoftd.