As tensions rise between the two organizations, FIFA has now fired back after EA floated the idea of renaming their longstanding football franchise.
Things seem to only be getting worse, and now it looks like EA could find themselves benched in favor of a new developer by EA.
FIFA fires back, EA could be REPLACED over title rights dispute
EA Sports recently set the conversations about their longstanding football gaming franchise ablaze by recently mentioning the possibility of a name change.
EA and FIFA have been working together on the franchise for over two decades, but it seems like that relationship is facing new obstacles.
EA said the following in the statement that got all of this started:
"As we look ahead, we’re also exploring the idea of renaming our global EA SPORTS football games. 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," said EA.
The rest of the statement operated more like a buildup to this revelation and a justification of why their franchise has made its mark over the years, but those words near the end were the real highlight.
Now, FIFA has fired back with a statement of their own, and it looks like the tensions between them and EA Sports aren't getting any better:
"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. 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," said FIFA.
This is a massive proposition for two companies that have been so intrinsically linked for so long, but whatever issues that sat beneath the surface have now boiled over.
Why would EA Sports and FIFA part ways?
As shocking as the possibility of dissolving the relationship between EA Sports and FIFA may seem on the surface, there are several factors at play.
Perhaps the most important thing to consider is timing, as the current agreement between EA Sports and FIFA is set to expire after next year's World Cup in Qatar.
Their current agreement will have been in place for 10 whole years when it ends, and FIFA 22 shows us exactly how much the franchise has evolved since the deal was struck.
As renewal talks have continued, a recent report states that FIFA wants EA Sports to double their payout to over $1 billion every four years.
They also are reportedly looking to limit the ways EA Sports can monetize the FIFA name, and that could end up interfering with their popular FIFA Ultimate Team game mode.
If you need an idea of how valuable FUT and the money players spend to unlock cards in it are to EA Sports, a gaming industry analyst at Ampere Analyasis estimated Ultimate Team was worth as much as $1.2 billion to EA last year.
The other crucial detail is that a separation from FIFA would have less of an in-game impact than most might realize, as another report earlier this week indicated EA has renewed their partnership with FIFPRO.
FIFPRO handles likeness rights for thousands of global professional football players, and as such a separation from FIFA would not prevent EA Sports from using player likenesses in the game.
The impact would be specific to the FIFA World Cup and the title of the game, which EA Sports now seems to have decided are not worth what FIFA wants.