EA have since confirmed a new game will succeed the iconic football gaming franchise FIFA, following their controversial split from football's governing body
EA Sports and FIFA officially ended their 30-year partnership in May 2022 after the two parties fell out over the licensing deal, with the American developers set to release their own game, EA Sports FC, next year.
For over two decades, EA Sports and FIFA have created some of the most iconic iterations of the successful video game franchise.
However, the two parties were forced to part ways over a licensing disagreement, with EA immediately confirming plans to roll out their own game independent of football’s governing body.
The split means that EA Sports can no longer use the name of football's governing body to title their franchise, which henceforth will be known as ‘EA Sports FC’.
In this article, we will explain what EA Sports FC is all about, how it started, and why it started?
But before we delve right into let’s answer the question, how did the EA Sports FIFA franchise begin?
History of the EA Sports FIFA video game
FIFA and EA Sports began a series of association football video games developed and released annually by Electronic Arts under the EA Sports label.
The iconic soccer video game was released annually from 1993 till the latest being in 2022.
When the series began with FIFA International Soccer on the Sega Mega Drive in late 1993, it was notable for being the first to have an official license from FIFA, the world governing body of football.
Known as EA Soccer during development and sometimes subsequently also known as FIFA '94, the first game in the series was released for the Sega Mega Drive in the weeks leading up to December 1993.
This greatly hyped football title broke with traditional 16-bit era games by presenting an isometric view rather than the more usual top-down view, side view, or bird's eye view.
It only included national teams, and real player names are not used.
The game even had a notorious bug that allowed a player to score by standing in front of the goalkeeper so that the ball rebounds off him into the net.
The game was number one in the UK charts, replacing Street Fighter II Special Champion Edition, and staying there for a full six months.
The Sega Mega CD version was released under the title "FIFA International Soccer Championship Edition" it includes some features used in the next title, and is a highly polished version of the original.
The game on the 3DO console sported pseudo-3D cameras and it was the most graphically advanced version.
The game was also playable on the PlayStation 2 version of FIFA 06.
It was made in celebration of the 1994 FIFA World Cup held in the United States – especially noticeable in the Super NES version which, despite having a smaller team selection than the Genesis version, had three exclusive teams which qualified for the real-life tournament: Bolivia, Saudi Arabia and South Korea.
The game was called International Soccer so EA could sell the game successfully in Europe, after assuming Americans would have no interest in the game.
After FIFA 94, came FIFA 95 which introduced club teams to the series within eight national leagues: Brazil, Germany's Bundesliga, Italy's Serie A, Spain's La Liga, England's Premier League, France's Ligue 1, Netherlands' Eredivisie and the United States.
Most of the leagues had team lineups based on the 1993–94 season, and the teams, although recognisably real, still had generic players, many of them even returned from the previous game.
The USA League featured teams and players from the A-League, the country's second division – subsequent editions would feature "artificial" division one leagues, a feature not corrected until the 2000 edition, when Major League Soccer was included for the first time.
While FIFA 95 only featured club teams, FIFA 96 pushed the boundaries.
For the first time with real player names by obtaining the FIFPro license, the PlayStation, PC, 32X and Sega Saturn versions used EA's "Virtual Stadium" engine, with 2D sprite players moving around a real-time 3D stadium in FIFA 96.
FIFA 97 improved on its predecessors with polygonal models for players and added an indoor soccer mode.
However, EA and FIFA first made their big break after the release of FIFA: Road to World Cup 98. This version featured much-improved graphics, a complete World Cup with qualifying rounds (including all national teams) and refined gameplay.
A few months later, FIFA World Cup 98 was EA's first officially licensed tournament game.
The main series has been complemented by additional installments based on single major tournaments, such as the FIFA World Cup, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and UEFA European Football Championship, as well as a series of football management titles.
By 2000, the FIFA series had sold more than 16 million units worldwide, making it the best-selling association football video game series, outdoing its rival Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer.
In 2010, the FIFA series had sold over 100 million copies, making it the best-selling sports video game franchise in the world and the most profitable EA Sports title.
With FIFA 12 selling 3.2 million copies in the first week after its 27 September North American debut in 2011, EA Sports dubbed it "the most successful launch in EA Sports history".
Messi's likeness was then immediately placed on the cover of FIFA Street.
In 2013, the Spanish professional women's footballer Vero Boquete started a petition on Change.org, which called upon Electronic Arts to introduce female players in the FIFA series.
The petition attracted 20,000 signatures in 24 hours.
Eventually, FIFA 16, released on 25 September 2015, included female national teams.
By 2021, FIFA became the sixth best-selling video game franchise, as the FIFA series had sold over 325 million copies worldwide.
The latest installments in the series contain many exclusively licensed leagues including leagues and teams from around the world, including the German Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga, English Premier League and EFL Championship, Italian Serie A and Serie B, Spanish La Liga and La Liga 2, French Ligue 1 and Ligue 2, Portuguese Primeira Liga, Turkish Süper Lig, Dutch Eredivisie, Scottish Premiership, the Swiss Super League, Russian Premier League, Polish Ekstraklasa, Mexican Liga MX, American Major League Soccer, South Korean K-League, Japanese J1 League, the Chinese Super League, Saudi Professional League, Australian A-League, Chilean Primera División, Brazilian Campeonato Brasileiro Série A and Argentine Liga Profesional de Fútbol, allowing the use of real leagues, clubs and player names and likenesses within the games.
Popular clubs from around the world, including some teams from Greece, Ukraine and South Africa, are also included, without those nations' entire leagues.
They are available in the "Rest of World" section in the game.
EA Sports FIFA Commentary
John Motson was the first commentator for the FIFA series, and has worked alongside Ally McCoist, Andy Gray, Des Lynam, Mark Lawrenson and Chris Waddle.
Motson first joined the franchise for FIFA 96, before Gray and Clive Tyldesley replaced him and McCoist for FIFA 06.
However, Motson and McCoist later returned for FIFA Manager 08.
Soon after, the legendary Martin Tyler became the default commentator for the FIFA series for an incredible 14 years between 2006 and 2020.
Martin Tyler was usually on commentary duty in the FIFA game alongside Andy Gray between 2006 and 2010 and Alan Smith from 2011 to 2020.
Ahead of the release of FIFA 21, Derek Rae and Lee Dixon were announced as the new commentators in the game and have been in the game in subsequent editions alongside the first and only women's commentator in the game Alex Scott.
As of 2011, the FIFA franchise has been localised into 18 languages and is available in 51 countries.
The franchise's latest release, FIFA 23, was released worldwide on 30 September 2022.
It is available for multiple gaming platforms, including the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Series S and Stadia.
The FIFA game has been listed in Guinness World Records as the best-selling sports video game franchise in the world, the FIFA series has sold over 325 million copies as of 2021.
The EA Sports FIFA franchise also had a couple of other titles released within the series.
These titles include:
FIFA Soccer 64
This was the first FIFA game on the Nintendo 64 console, released in early 1997.
It was similar to the 32-bit versions of FIFA 97, and was initially announced under the same title.
The game recorded high numbers of pre-orders leading Electronic Arts to reverse its recent decision to withdraw from Nintendo 64 software development and instead announced plans to release several EA Sports games for the Nintendo 64 over the next year.
FA Premier League Stars series
The FA Premier League Stars series were released in 2000 and 2001.
The game was primarily based around the Premier League, though localised versions of the second game were released in Germany, France, Spain and South Korea.
FIFA Soccer World Championship (FIFAサッカー ワールドチャンピオンシップ)
Released only in Japan on 25 May 2000, this game was a PlayStation 2 exclusive, and a prototype of FIFA 2001.
The game was also the first installment of the series on a 6th generation video game console.
The game contained under-23 national teams like Australia national under-23 soccer team, and Japan national under-23 football team, due to Japan U-23 having qualified to the quarter-finals at the Sydney Olympics but it sold only in Japan by Electronic Arts Square.
UEFA Champions League series
Two games were released in the series: UEFA Champions League 2004–2005 and UEFA Champions League 2006–2007.
FIFA Total Football (FIFAトータルフットボール)
This game was released in Japan in March 2004 on the PlayStation 2, and it was based on FIFA 2004.
FIFA Superstars was a Facebook game developed for EA Sports by Playfish.
The game operates on a similar premise to the "Ultimate Team" mode that appears in the main FIFA games.
Users collect trading cards that represent different players; each card has a statistical rating of the player's skills, contributing to an average team skill rating.
Users could purchase new player cards with in-game "coins", which were acquired through playing matches, winning leagues and as gifts from friends; the cards come in bronze, silver and gold packs, with bronze containing low-rated players and gold containing the best players in the game, although gold packs cost more coins, like in the modern day FIFA Ultimate Team.
The game was released in February 2010 but went offline at the end of March 2013, following community complaints and poor service.
FIFA World was a free-to-play massively multiplayer online FIFA game distributed by EA Sports themselves.
The game was based on FIFA 14, and offered both matchday and FIFA Ultimate Team gameplay. Announced on 9 August 2013, an open beta was released on 12 November 2013 in Brazil and Russia, before being made globally available on 20 May 2014.
The game went offline on 14 July 2015.
Cover Athletes: Marco Reus (11 October 2016 – 23 December 2016); Eden Hazard (24 December 2016 – 31 October 2017); Cristiano Ronaldo (1 November 2017 – 5 November 2018); Neymar, Paulo Dybala, Kevin De Bruyne (6 November 2018 – 26 September 2019); Virgil Van Dijk, Eden Hazard (27 September 2019 – 2020) Kylian Mbappe (2020 – now)
Released for: iOS, Android, Windows 10 Mobile
Release date: 11 October 2016
FIFA Mobile is the first mobile game of FIFA to use the new attack mode, live events, leagues, player plans, and program packs.
It features seasonal programs for players to obtain different packs and players by completing different plans, live events, and achievements.
FIFA later reworked attack mode to VS Attack on their 6.0.1 update on 19 May 2017.
On November 1, 2017, a new mode called "campaign" was introduced, where players face different teams from around the world, from tiny amateur clubs to the best professional clubs in the world. The ability to improve players by "training" them was also introduced.
The game also features Live Events themed on recent real-world events, as well as mini-games based on skills such as shooting, passing, dribbling and goalkeeping.
FIFA Management games
Since 1997, EA Sports have regularly released football management games, most of which have made use of their FIFA or FA Premier League licenses in their titles.
Some of these games were developed by EA themselves, though some have been developed by third parties such as Krisalis Software and Bright Future GmbH.
The FIFA Manager series ended in 2014
FIFA Street football games
FIFA Street is a spin-off franchise introduced in 2005 which focuses on flair, style and trickery, reflecting the cultures of street football and freestyle football played on the streets and backlots across the world.
There were four iterations of the FIFA Street football games which include:
- FIFA Street (2005)
- FIFA Street 2 (2006)
- FIFA Street 3 (2008)
- FIFA Street (2012)
FIFA World Cup licensed games
In 1997, Electronic Arts purchased the licence from FIFA to publish official FIFA World Cup video games prior to each tournament.
The game has been made in eight iterations.
- World Cup 98
- 2002 FIFA World Cup
- 2006 FIFA World Cup
- 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa
- 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil
- 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil World-class Soccer (A collectible card game for Android and iOS which is released in Japan and mainland China only.)
- 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
- FIFA 23
What is EA Sports FC?
Pulse Sports previously reported that EA Sports FC is the brand new football series coming from EA, with FIFA 23 being the last entry in that franchise.
FIFA 23 is the last installment of the partnership between EA and FIFA and its replacement won't arrive until late in 2023, according to reports.
However, EA has already shared details surrounding some of its licenses.
EA has already announced that EA Sports FC will contain more than 30 leagues, featuring over 700 teams.
EA Sports FC will also have at least 19,000 players, and 100 stadiums.
Competitions confirmed so far include the Champions League, Premier League (England), Bundesliga (Germany), and La Liga (Spain).
EA SPORTS FC will allow us to realize this future and much more…but not before we deliver our most expansive game ever with our current naming rights partner, FIFA, for one more year. We are committed to ensuring the next FIFA is our best ever, with more features, game modes, World Cup content, clubs, leagues, competitions, and players than any FIFA title before.
We’re incredibly excited to build the future of global football with all of you, and will be happy to share more info on EA SPORTS FC in Summer 2023. The future of the sport is very big and bright, and football fandom is reaching across every corner of the world. Global football has been part of EA SPORTS for nearly thirty years - and today, we’re ensuring that it will be for decades to come.’ a from Cam Weber, EVP, Group GM EA SPORTS & Racing read.
Over the coming days, the EA SPORTS FC brand will debut in more than 100 matches across the biggest leagues in the world.
Football fans will see the new brand identity in the wild for the first time through EA SPORTS partners, including the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A, Ligue 1, WSL, NWSL, CONMEBOL and more.
EA Sports FC Brand Logo
Pulse Sports also reported that EA has already unveiled the logo for the upcoming EA Sports FC game.
The new brand takes its design inspiration directly from the beautiful game and a dominant shape in football culture that represents the sport in multiple dimensions, triangles.
From passing techniques to set plays, the shape has also been woven into the DNA of EA SPORTS football experiences for decades; from the isometric angles of our very first 8-bit experiences and the triangular polygons that make up every pixel of EA’s most modern games, as well the iconic player indicator symbol that appears above every athlete in every match.
Real Madrid, Liverpool, Manchester City, Juventus, Tottenham Hotspur, Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Toronto FC and Austin FC, amongst others have all shared tweets committing themselves to EA Sports FC, and promising more info to come in July 2023.
Meanwhile, FIFA on the other hand has already released a statement to confirm that the FIFA video game series will continue under the helm of a developer that is not EA.
The new FIFA series will also switch to a non-exclusive model - which means different development teams working on an assortment of titles under the FIFA banner.
Explained: Why did EA Sports and FIFA split?
According to a report from in October 2021, FIFA had started discussions with EA in the prior two years on renewing these rights towards an exclusivity deal but with several caveats that made negotiations difficult.
Among FIFA's requests was increasing the exclusive license fee to $1 billion over each four-year period between FIFA World Cups, and limiting the scope of this exclusivity to association football simulation games.
However, while EA wanted to expand the branding into new video game ventures such as esports using the game, an area that FIFA wanted to either keep to themselves or license to other developers to expand their own revenues, FIFA issued a statement following this report that stated they had reached an impasse with EA on the negotiations.
To that end, FIFA believed it was necessary that any license agreement "must involve more than one party controlling and exploiting all rights".
EA then considered abandoning the FIFA name would have little impact on the player experience since the league and team licenses would be unaffected, prompting the company to trademark EA Sports F.C, as a potential replacement name for the series with the last collaboration being the 2022 release FIFA 23.
However, a recent statement from FIFA president Giani Infantino has confirmed that the iconic FIFA video game franchise is not ending anytime soon.
Infantino confirmed football’s governing body is actively planning on launching its own rival soccer game following FIFA’s split with EA Sports.
“The new FIFA game – the FIFA 25, 26, 27, and so on – will always be the best egame for any girl or boy, we will have news on this very soon.” Infantino was quoted to have said.
For now, it remains to be seen whether fans will remain loyal to the FIFA franchise without EA taking charge.
Regardless, FIFA president Gianni Infantino seems to have high hopes for the long-running franchise’s future, as football’s governing body is determined to produce a game that will rival the highly-anticipated EA Sports FC.
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