Talks between EA and FIFA “hit the wall”

EA may take its ball and go home

Talks between game publisher EA and the Federation Internationale de Football Association over the licensing of the FIFA brand for EA’s popular sports game, FIFA, are stalling.

It was already known that EA was considering a name change for its famous FIFA series, but a new report by The New York Times has revealed more information about why this name change may be taking place.

“[FIFA’s] licensing agreement [with EA] has grown to become the organization’s single-most valuable commercial agreement, now worth about $150 million per year,” wrote New York Times reporter Tariq Panja.

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FIFA
FIFA 22. Credit: EA

“The core of the dispute is financial,” Panja wrote. “FIFA is seeking more than double what it currently receives from EA Sports.”

According to the report, EA’s Ultimate Team mode, which has players build teams through purchasable loot box style card packs, is “also the kind of feature that FIFA would prefer to wall off, and perhaps sell in lucrative — and separate — deals.”

EA losing the naming rights for FIFA would only affect the name of the game, not its contents, as the company separately owns the rights to license players and leagues such as the Premier League, Bundesliga, and UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, and more.

“The vast number of other licenses that EA Sports holds in soccer means that even if it were forced to rename its FIFA series, gamers brought up on a diet of digital soccer would notice little change when it came to the playing experience,” Panja wrote.

EA has such a massive dominance over the football video game market that it can afford to negotiate aggressively and threaten to walk away from the FIFA brand name if it doesn’t like the deal proposed by the football association.

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In other news today, the Ghost Recon Frontline closed test has been delayed.

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