FIFA is one of the world's most popular video game brands, with the famous football series selling millions each year since it began, way back in 1993.
That's why it was such a shock to hear that EA was "exploring the idea of renaming" the franchise; why would you change the name of such a recognisable brand? Well, if a report by The New York Times is correct, it's down to a pretty predictable reason: money.
The outlet reports that the current ten-year deal between EA and FIFA comes to an end next year, and the two are, at the time of writing, trying to nail down the details of what the new deal will entail. FIFA – which stands for Fédération Internationale de Football Association, in case you were wondering – is reported to be demanding "more than double" the current cost of the licence; that would bring it to "more than $1 billion for each four-year World Cup cycle".
This might seem greedy, but it's worth noting that since the last deal was signed back in 2012, the mechanics behind the way EA makes money from FIFA have changed dramatically. FIFA's Ultimate Team mode, which focuses on in-game microtransactions, made up the majority of the $1.62bn EA earned in all Ultimate Team modes across its range of sports titles in 2021. Back in 2015, the figure was $587m.
FIFA will naturally be aware of this – and the rise of eSports events featuring the FIFA video game brand – and is understandably of the opinion that the name is now worth more to EA than it was back in 2012 when the previous version of the agreement was signed.
On that topic, another sticking point is that the two companies cannot agree on precisely what the new deal should cover. EA wants to expand its use of the FIFA licence to cover the aforementioned video game tournaments as well as look at emerging digital products, like NFTs. However, FIFA is also keen to explore these opportunities – but on its own terms, rather than via EA's series.
The end result might be that there's no agreement made, and that EA does exactly what it says it has been considering and re-names one of the most famous video game franchises of all time – which means we could see a future where neither PES nor FIFA exist in video game form.
Still, when you consider that we gave FIFA 22 a shameful 2/10, it might be that most Switch fans aren't really bothered; no matter what the name is on the box, 2022's version of the game will most likely be a legacy edition on Nintendo's console anyway.