EA Sports’ mega-popular FIFA gaming franchise could be shedding the FIFA name as early as next year, with the licensing agreement due to end and both companies making strong public statements on the matter.
EA has issued an update in regards to their licensing agreement with FIFA and the future of their popular EA Sports FIFA gaming franchise.
On October 7, 2021, EA released a statement stating that they were considering whether not to renew their licensing agreement with FIFA, which could prompt a name change for one of the biggest video gaming franchises in history.
“As we look ahead, we’re also exploring the idea of renaming our global EA SPORTS football games,” Said the EA Statement.
“This means we’re reviewing our naming rights agreement with FIFA, which is separate from all our other official partnerships and licenses across the football world.
“The future of football is very big and very bright. Our priority is to ensure we have every opportunity to continue delivering the world’s greatest interactive football experiences.”
FIFA responded with a strong statement of their own on October 15, 2021, hinting that they could make their own game instead and aiming a dig at EA Sports.
“FIFA will adopt a new commercial positioning in gaming and eSports to ensure that it is best placed to make decisions that benefit all football stakeholders,” said FIFA in a statement on their website.
“FIFA is bullish and excited about the future in gaming and eSports for football, and it is clear that this needs to be a space that is occupied by more than one party controlling all rights.
“Technology and mobile companies are now actively competing to be associated with FIFA, its platforms, and global tournaments.
“Consequently, FIFA is engaging with various industry players, including developers, investors and analysts, to build out a long-term view of the gaming, eSports and interactive entertainment sector.”
After a short period of quiet from both companies, EA has now issued an update on their FIFA licensing negotiations, the future of the franchise, the future of FIFA Ultimate Team and even NFTs.
Following the release of EA’s Q2 FY22 financial results, EA executives Andrew Wilson (CEO & Director), Blake J. Jorgensen (COO & CFO) and Chris Evenden (VP of IR) spoke on an earnings call with a number of analysts and researchers from across the globe to discuss the results, but questions were fielded specifically around FIFA licensing, the future of the franchise, Ultimate Team and NFTs.
When asked how aggressively EA will negotiate with FIFA in regards to the license and the contingency plans around this, Andrew Wilson (CEO & Director) made the following comments.
“And with respect to license negotiation, I would start by saying we have great relationships with all of our partners, all 300 of them, including FIFA,” Said Andrew Wilson (CEO & Director at EA) on EA’s Q2 FY22 earnings call.
“As we think about the future of football, we think the future is very bright. We think we are part of the very fabric of the culture of football globally, an important part of kind of fandom for football.
“And when we kind of interact with our hundreds of millions of football fans, they tell us they want more cultural brand involvement from across the globe. They want more modalities at play inside the game, which go beyond just straight 11 on 11 football.
“They want more digital experiences outside the game, esports, NFTs, broader sports consumption and they want us to move really, really quickly.
“And so I would tell you, as we think about the future of football, we think it’s very bright. We’re going to work with our global collection of partners that we feel best enable us to do that.
“And we’ll continue our conversations with each and every one of them to the extent that they’re aligned with that objective.
Wilson was also asked about Ultimate Team, specifically regarding collection elements and if EA is looking at maintaining the value of player investments and making their annual investments into the microtransactions more enduring over a longer time.
“I think about — as we think about digital collectables, particularly in our sports games, again, it’s different across different franchise.
“And so collectibility has different value over time. and collectability in games like FIFA and Madden and NHL is really built on driving value through the traditional sports season. I think your question is, is there an opportunity, particularly as we think about NFTs and other digital ecosystems to expand that value over time.
“I think the short answer to that is yes. I mean the slightly longer answer to that is we need to work and make sure we continue to appropriately tune and balance the experience for our players, and we’re always looking to give our players more value in the experiences they enjoy, and you are seeing that based on the growing engagement in the game and growing spending, they’re getting that value.
“But we will continue as we have evolved the Ultimate Team experience over the last decade, we will continue to look for ways to add value for our players.
Wilson was then asked about the new FUT Preview Packs and whether the introduction of these new packs, in which players can see the items included in the pack before they decide to purchase one, have led to an increase in payer conversion.
“I don’t have specific metrics on payer conversion that I can share today other than to say what we have seen in the combination of all of the new advancements with Ultimate Team, including 1 element, which is the preview packs, we’ve seen higher engagement and higher monetization overall.
“And as we’ve kind of rolled that out, what we’ve seen is that we’ve converted a different level of spend or a different type of spend on the Codemasters preview packs.
“And so what’s clear to us was this is a really fun and new and innovative and creative way through our growing player community to engage with the most popular mode in the game.
“And we’ll continue to kind of evolve and offer new things. And as I said earlier, we’re always trying to figure out a way to offer new points of value for our players and new reasons for them to engage and connect with their friends through the experience.”
What do you make of these comments regarding FIFA licensing negotiations, the future of the franchise and FUT? Let us know in the comments!
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