⚽ EA’s $20B divorce from FIFA

The Hustle

A $5m+ class-action lawsuit was filed against Kellogg’s, arguing the filling in its Whole Grain Frosted Strawberry Toaster Pastries actually contains more pear and apple than it does strawberry. Earlier this year, another $5m lawsuit was filed against Subway, claiming its tuna sandwich doesn’t contain tuna.

Today’s rundown:

  • Game over: EA and FIFA are calling it quits.
  • Metaberg: Zuck looks to cement his metaverse dreams.
  • Future of travel: Our convo with Kayak’s CEO.
  • Around the web: A site for free books online, how to do Zoom meetings on water slides, and more wild internet things.

Let’s do it.

The Big Idea
rolling soccer ball

Electronic Arts and FIFA created a $20B video game empire. But the end is near.

In the gaming world, EA FIFA is an absolute juggernaut.

The soccer franchise was created by gamemaker Electronic Arts (EA) in partnership with FIFA, a nonprofit governing organization that runs the World Cup.

Game sales have passed $20B…

… over the past 2 decades, according to The New York Times. EA pumps out a new game each year and currently pays FIFA an annual $150m licensing fee.

The latest EA FIFA deal runs through the end of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Negotiations on a new contract have hit a wall:

  • FIFA wants more money ($1B+ over each 4-year World Cup cycle)
  • EA wants the right to use the FIFA name for new ventures like video game tournaments and non-fungible tokens (NFT)

EA is planning to move on

Per NYT, the gaming company has filed for trademarks in both the EU and Britain for what sounds like a potential new game name: “EA Sports F.C.”

Even without the “FIFA” name, EA is in a strong position. It has struck 300+ licensing agreements, including one with UEFA (which operates the massively popular Champions League).

Most importantly, these deals allow EA to use the names and likeness of popular teams (Manchester United) and players (Messi).

FIFA sounds like it’s out, too

Last Friday, the org issued a statement saying it will “adopt a new commercial positioning in gaming,” per Protocol.

FIFA is shopping its name and interested in finding a partner that lets it tap  into lucrative “in-game microtransactions,” which brought EA $1.6B in sales last year.

If that isn’t enough, FIFA is planning to do the World Cup every 2 years (instead of 4) starting in 2026. Some see the move as a cynical money grab, we see it as a chance for more poppin’ World Cup anthems like Shakira’s “Waka Waka.”

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SNIPPETS

Target is going hard on shop-in-shops, expanding its Apple, Ulta, and Disney offerings. #ecommerce-retail

Whoa: The Ocean Cleanup developed a device that pulled a whopping 20k pounds of plastic from the Pacific Ocean. #clean-energy

That’ll do, pig: For the 1st time ever, a human successfully received a kidney transplant from a genetically altered pig. And it’s working. #emerging-tech

Scam that ‘like’ button: Hackers are hijacking popular YouTube channels to turn them into crypto livestreams. #privacy

The NBA just agreed to its 1st crypto sponsorship deal with Coinbase, providing Coinbase exposure during games and on a variety of platforms. #fintech-cryptocurrency

After considerable backlash, Netflix Co-CEO Ted Sarandos walked back comments defending Dave Chapelle’s comedy special, which was criticized for transphobia. #big-tech

Now on MFM: Dopamine fasts, “cruise ship investing” vs. “speed boat investing,” and the pitfalls of constant optimization. #mfm

Creator economy. Metaverse. Unbundling. The Hustle‘s Steph Smith is compiling tech buzzwords. #hustle-picks

That’s So Meta
Zuckerberg wearing a VR headset

Why a ‘meta’-themed facelift is likely for Facebook

When Facebook acquired VR headset startup Oculus for $2B in 2014, founder Palmer Luckey wrote on Reddit, “I guarantee that you won’t need to log into your Facebook account [to use the Oculus Rift].”

By 2020, he was wrong.

Today, it’s pretty clear Facebook wants 2 things: To rule — ahem — to help build the metaverse, and to keep you on Facebook while doing it.

A reported rebrand at the company’s Connect conference next week could set that in stone (and if Zuck is lucky, possibly deflect attention from the myriad controversies swirling around Facebook).

The future is so meta

Zuck has said people will eventually view Facebook as a metaverse company. He’s invested heavily — like, super heavily — in the metaverse at work.

The company already has 10k+ people building AR products, and last week announced plans to hire 10k metaverse engineers in Europe.

But even with 20k people working on “Ready Player One: Oasis,” if your name is Facebook, people see you as Facebook — hence the rebrand.

As for the name, Zuck already owns meta.com and meta.org. The former redirects to the latter, which is a website for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (the couple’s charity).

While Metaberg isn’t there quite yet…

… virtual worlds are coming. Last year, 30m+ people attended a Lil Nas X concert performed entirely within Roblox.

When Zuck bought Oculus, he said it loud and clear: “Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play and communicate.”

Next week, maybe we’ll get an update on how that’s going.

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Q&A

Q&A: Kayak CEO Steve Hafner on the future of travel

The last 2 years have been a bit chaotic for the travel industry. We’ve written about it previously here and here.

The Hustle recently caught up with Steve Hafner, CEO of Kayak and travel industry veteran. Here are his key takeaways on how the pandemic is shaping the future of travel:

Travel will get back to pre-pandemic levels, but leisure will outpace business

“We’re seeing pent-up demand for travel and dining, and any time restrictions are lifted, we’ve seen business come roaring back — especially in leisure. Before things fully return to normal, we expect to see more of the trends that have emerged over the last 2 years, including more activity in driving markets, more local trips, and more outdoor markets.”

The pandemic has permanently changed business travel

“Ineffective and inefficient meetings aren’t going to happen anymore in person, which likely means no more daytrips for existing clients or internal meetings. In some ways, Zoom has helped make travel easier because you can work from anywhere. Because of that, we expect to see a lot more extended trips going forward.”

Authentic experiences and adventurous travel will thrive in the next 5 years

“We expect to see more adventurous travel, along with a bigger focus on experiences. That’s part of why we launched ‘Things to do’ in Kayak. Our goal is to make the app the only place you need to go to navigate a city.”

Read the full Q&A, including Steve’s favorite travel destinations, here.

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AROUND THE WEB

🖼️ On this day: In 1959, the Guggenheim Museum opened in NYC, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright at the behest of mining tycoon and art collector Solomon R. Guggenheim.

🍞 That’s cool: Here’s an oddly satisfying behind-the-scenes look at how they make Subway commercials.

🏰 How to: We’ve told you about where you can play text adventure games online, but here’s a tutorial for building your own.

📚 Useful: Open Library lets you read scanned copies of books online.

🤣 Haha: This man uses a green screen to seem present during Zoom meetings. But he’s really at football games, on water slides, and riding dirt bikes.

🦛 Wait, what: In the 1980s, Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar brought several hippos to his private estate. The “cocaine hippos,” as they’re called, have since swelled to a population of 80, which is why officials are now attempting to curb breeding by shooting them with darts full of contraceptives.

Tweet of the day

Source: Twitter / @inafried

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