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

Over the past 2 decades, the EA FIFA game has brought in $20B and FIFA makes $150m a year on licensing fees. Now, EA and FIFA are disagreeing on renegotiation terms.

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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