FIFA 2022 will probably be the last FIFA game of its kind after executives of developer and publisher EA Sports, the sports gaming branch of multi-million dollar games maker Electronic Arts, said the company is reconsidering its naming-rights agreement with the international governing body of football.
This means that EA Sports might be heading to rebranding its mega-popular soccer video game released every year.
EA Challenges Everything, Including FIFA
EA Sports GM, Cam Weber, said last week that EA’s partnership with FIFA may be coming to an end.
“As we look ahead, we’re also exploring the idea of renaming our global EA Sports football games,” Weber said in a statement seen by Polygon. “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.”
Apparently, the current deal with FIFA, including undisclosed payments from EA, only really serves to get the FIFA name on the box, and everything else in-game, from the teams to the players and leagues they compete in are based on other arrangements made by the company. Meaning that the only thing the deal-breaking would affect would be the name on the cover.
EA Sports FC
Polygon reports that the company has filed several new trademarks in Europe, and a few could be pointing to what the game’s new name may be. Filed in the intellectual property offices of both the UK and the EU is the name “EA Sports FC,” which could be the new name of the expected FIFA 2023.
This would be in line with several other renamings EA has brought to its sports series, including the returning EA Sports PGA Tour and next year’s EA Sports College Football.
Adding EA Sports FC to these titles gives EA prime brand space and cements the company as the sports video game publisher, not that it wasn’t already.
However, the FIFA brand has become synonymous with EA’s yearly football game, especially in South Africa where it constantly ranks amongst the year’s top releases. The “FIFA game” is part of the country’s zeitgeist so much so that a rebranding at this point could leave many players and fans confused.
In SA there have been only 2 major historical football video game titles, Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) and FIFA – EA Sports FC just doesn’t strike the same nerve or the same nostalgic chord that FIFA 2023 would have. Time will tell if the video game reaches the same success after the name change in countries like South Africa, where “FIFA” means “the soccer game”.