Electronic Arts has expressed interest in possibly going rogue with its soccer/football simulation games.
FIFA is EA's biggest cash crop--at least in terms of revenues. FIFA's Ultimate Team earnings generated hundreds of millions a year (Ultimate Team made $1.632 billion in FY21, for example), and EA has sold over 9.1 million copies of FIFA 22. These are revenues before licensing, royalties and expenses are paid out to organizations like FIFA. There's a lot of money potentially left on the table for EA.
Now EA says they might not renew their licensing contract with FIFA. It's possible the next soccer/football game from EA won't be a FIFA title.
"As we look ahead, we're also exploring the idea of renaming our global EA SPORTS football games. This means we're reviewing our naming rights agreement with FIFA, which is separate from all our other official partnerships and licenses across the football world," EA Sports general manager Cam Weber said in a press release.
"The future of football is very big and very bright. Our priority is to ensure we have every opportunity to continue delivering the world's greatest interactive football experiences. Thank you again for your support and feedback on this year's game. We look forward to creating the future of football with you."
This announcement comes at a pivotal point for Electronic Arts. The publisher has outlined an ambitious three-part plan that prioritizes game releases, live services, and mobile games that are typically linked together in some synergistic way. This plan has given EA confidence to forecast a record-breaking $7.3 billion in revenues for FY22.
Apex Legends' massive success has also taught EA that it can create, expand, and ultimately manage a wholly-owned billion-dollar entertainment property. EA owns Apex through and through and there's no royalties being paid out to third-party franchise-holders.
EA is also making strong headway into fledgling next-generation technologies like machine learning and AI with its SEED divisions, and is leveraging extensive cloud-based capabilities with games like Battlefield 2042 with its 128-player multiplayer.
We should hear more about the company's plans in its upcoming Q2 earnings call.
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