There might be no “FIFA 23” due to licensing dispute

Is the current “FIFA 22” the last part of the successful soccer series? Extremely high license fees could make sure of that!

The FIFA series from Electronic Arts (EA) is the most successful game of the year every year. For years, FIFA has been the absolute bestseller on Microsoft and Sony consoles. The name “FIFA” stands for “Fédération Internationale de Football Association”. This is the world association of soccer, which among other things organizes the World Cup. And this association, which is actually a non-profit organization, earns a fair amount of money from the success of video games – in the form of incredibly high license fees. Is this too much for EA?

A billion dollars in royalties!

Publisher EA and FIFA are currently in negotiations about the “FIFA” license rights for the soccer game. However, these negotiations have come to a standstill. A lot of money is at stake.

EA is now to transfer one billion US dollars in license fees to FIFA for another four years. This is the result of a report of the “NY Times”. According to the report, FIFA has almost doubled the amount compared to the current period. The now expiring contract between FIFA and EA has a term of ten years and brought FIFA 150 million dollars annually.

New FIFA license brings fewer opportunities

FIFA’s terms are tougher on several fronts at once. For one, the term is to be reduced from ten years to four. For EA, this means that in four years there will already be another negotiation and the price will then probably rise again. On the other hand, EA should be able to do less with the rights than in the past. Exclusive rights yes, but not as exclusive as in the past. In a press release, FIFA writes that esports and gaming in general are big topics for them. But it’s clear “that this needs to be a space occupied by more than one party controlling all rights.”

That stands in the way of EA’s plans to enrich FIFA 23 with real game scenes or set up NFTs. All things that the new license would probably not cover.

Plans to rename FIFA series

Meanwhile, even after two years of negotiation, they could not come to an agreement. A point at which EA goes so far and openly talks about alternatives. Cam Weber, Executive President and General Manager of EA Sports, said in a press release, among other things, the following:

“Looking ahead, we are also exploring the idea of renaming our global EA SPORTS soccer games. That means reviewing our naming rights agreement with FIFA, which is separate from all our other official partnerships and licenses around the soccer world.”

EA is even said to have already applied for naming rights like “EA Sports F.C.”. If FIFA and EA can’t come to an agreement, the world’s most popular game series could come to an end, at least in terms of its name.

Sources

  • NY Times
  • EA press release
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