FIFA 22: Is this the last ever FIFA from EA Sports? What will change and can I still play as a Sheffield team?
But what will this mean when we want to play as our beloved Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday in the inevitable follow-up next season?
It’s all been kicking off over the course of the past week in the world of footballing video games, early last week in a report from the New York Times there was the firmest hint yet that Electronic Arts (EA) was ‘exploring the idea of renaming’ it’s wildly successful football game due to reaching a bit of an impasse in licence negotiations with FIFA.
What has happened?
On October 11, 2021, the gaming news outlet VGC revealed that Electronic Arts had filed a number of trademark applications for something called ‘EA Sports FC’, naturally, this has led to speculation whether EA was going to create an eSports focused take on its popular football game or, if it was going to rebrand the game entirely. Something that EA itself confirmed when it raised the idea of a FIFA game without the FIFA naming at all, “As we look ahead,” Weber wrote in discussing the future of the series, “we’re also exploring the idea of renaming our global EA Sports football games.”
As noted in the New York Times report, it comes as no surprise that one of the key areas of disagreement is focused on the money being paid for the rights to the FIFA name currently. It has been said that FIFA is possibly looking to double the cost of its licence to over $1 billion USD for each four-year world cup cycle, a deal that’s currently worth $150 million per year to the footballing organisation, FIFA.
But that’s not all, it’s looking like FIFA wants to not only increase the cost of using its licence in its deal with EA. It also wants to explore other means of making money on the commercial strength of its name, including but not limited to gaming tournaments, NFTs (a digital rights ownership product) and even real-world sports. However, EA is seemingly not happy about losing exclusive access to the naming rights and is now considering a switch away from using the name.
FIFA released a statement saying, “The future of gaming and eSports for football stakeholders must involve more than one party controlling and exploiting all rights”
What does this mean for next year’s FIFA game?
Honestly, not much will change when it comes to how the game plays or even the licences and naming rights that EA currently has for the inclusion of over 700+ football teams, 17,000+ athletes and 100 recreated stadiums across 30 leagues around the world.
Something the publisher itself confirmed in a statement when it said that it will be renewing its contract with FIFPRO, which will ensure that all the leagues, teams and players you can already play as on FIFA 22 will in all likelihood be included in whatever next year's game is called.
In short, you’ll still be able to play as Sheffield United, Sheffield Wednesday, Rotherham United and Barnsley F.C. Sadly, there’s still no word on whether you will be able to play as the world’s oldest football club, Sheffield F.C. anytime soon, but we can hope.
The game will most likely be the same, it’s just the name that could change.