The sheer number of other licenses EA Sports owns in the soccer arena means that even if it were forced to rename its FIFA franchise, gamers growing up on a digital soccer diet wouldn’t notice a small change when it came to the gaming experience.
However, any break would have consequences. According to Gareth Sutcliffe, a senior video game analyst at Enders Analysis, the FIFA franchise is extremely profitable because EA Sports can only make cosmetic changes to its game for years and still get millions in sales with its release. each new edition.
The profitability of the game has been boosted by innovations such as collectible card-like player packs that require users to spend money in-game as they strive to create better squads. Pierce Harding Rolls, a gaming industry analyst with Ampere Analysis, estimated the in-game feature known as Ultimate Team cost EA $ 1.2 billion last year.
It is this new economy that EA is counting on as part of its growth strategy. It is also a feature that FIFA would prefer to block and possibly sell on lucrative – and separate – deals.
For FIFA, the break with EA Sports and the loss of nine-figure royalties could jeopardize some of the innovations proposed by FIFA President Gianni Infantino. He is trying to raise up to $ 2 billion, for example, to fund a new extended club world championship. At the same time, he is trying to convince participants to support his plan to increase the frequency of the World Championships to two years.
To find these new revenues, FIFA officials have explored the possibility of selling licenses for video games and digital products not related to football. For example, a partnership with another company like Epic Games, creator of the popular Fortnite franchise, will expand FIFA’s reach, but weaken the exclusivity that EA pays the premium for. That, according to former gaming industry insiders like Moore, may be the reason his former company is considering leaving.
“I’m going to say, ‘Wait a second: we’ve literally spent hundreds of millions of dollars making this, and you’re telling me that Epic Games can come in and license the name we created and that we have to put forward and center, and has it become synonymous with gaming? Moore said. “Then, yes, I am negotiating and fighting it.”