Although FIFA 23 hasn’t been officially revealed to the public, for a long time rumors abounded that EA and FIFA are to go their separate ways and the last title to bear FIFA branding will be the next iteration of the popular football simulator, FIFA 23. Just in case you don’t know, EA is the software publisher of the FIFA series.
This has now been confirmed by the software giant after a partnership that has spanned 30 years. The first FIFA game was released on December 15th, 1993. This isn’t the end of EA’s partnership with the beautiful game, however, as the new branding for the series will be known as EA Sports FC. So, no matter if you follow the English Premiership or Serie A fixtures you’ll still be able to take up the mantle of your favorite team and shout at the TV like it was a real match.
EA Tight-Lipped on FIFA 23
EA has been particularly tight-lipped about the forthcoming release. Normally, they showcase the next FIFA game at the EA summer showcase together with their other titles. The showcase did not go ahead this year so fans of the series have been completely left in the dark.
That said, if the game’s release follows a predictable pattern, then we should see the soccer sim released in the fall of this year. FIFA 21 was released on October 5th 2020, while FIFA 22 was released in September 26th. This implies that come October fans should be able to get their hands on FIFA 23.
All EA have said about FIFA 23 is that it will be their most ‘expansive game ever’ and that the last title to bear the FIFA name will have more features and game modes than previous iterations of the franchise.
EA’s New Era
EA has described the switch from FIFA to EA Sports FC as a new dawn. They have been more forthcoming about EA Sports FC than FIFA 23 and have promised that the licensing that allows them to use real player and club names will continue. Writing in their UK blog, they highlight quotes from UEFA, the English Premier League, LaLiga, Bundesliga, CONMEBOL, and Nike confirming that the branding and logos and relevant information are still licensed to the software giant.
According to EA this includes 19,000+ players, 700+ teams, 100+ stadiums and 30 different leagues. So whoever you support and whoever is your favorite player should all feature in FIFA 23 and beyond.
The simple fact is that EA has not really given any facts but promises and assurances that the game that has around 150 million fans worldwide will be the same game that everyone knows and loves. Whenever EA talks about the future it is in vague abstract terms. They mention working with new partners and now they are independent they have new opportunities to innovate, create, and evolve. They describe EA Sports FC as a symbol of change rather than just a name change. The question, of course, is what change is coming down the track?
They have promised to release more information on the branding change in the forthcoming months. So far nothing has materialized in this regard.
CEO Andrew Wilson said, “Our vision for EA Sports FC is to create the largest and most impactful football club in the world, at the epicenter of football fandom.”
EA Sports FC Will it Takes?
Although EA has firmly established itself as the number one developer of soccer games, the name change is a little odd. FIFA are the biggest football governing body in the world, and no doubt having the name has helped EA see off the competition that it had in the early days of the title’s release.
In fact, the licensing was what set the FIFA series apart and made the game more accessible even if at times, some of the gameplay was exceeded by the competition. Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer is the only real competition EA ever had and for a time fans of soccer sims, favored Evolution Soccer over FIFA. The lack of licensing, however, always let the title down.
That said, talking of competition, FIFA has announced it will develop its own new soccer game to rival EA Sports FC.
One of the reasons for the rebrand could be to try and cash in on new immersive technology that fans are using to watch real live matches. Various forms are entering the market allowing you to watch a game from different seats in the stadium, and virtual reality experiences will make you feel like you’re in the stadium even though you’re sitting on the sofa at home.
Another aspect that is rearing its ugly head is non-fungible tokens (NFTs) which is a market set to invade the gaming space. Could this be the reason behind the EA split?
To fans of the real game what EA do in the gaming world is of little consequence. The beautiful game will unfold on the pitch where players and fans live out every emotion you can think of week in week out.
For players of FIFA, however, it is another story. Will the new EA Sports FC be for the fans or create new money-making opportunities for the software giant that bring benefits only to them? Time will tell.