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Over the past decade, things have been anything but smooth for Electronic Arts. They are one of the most hated game developers out there. The business approach taken by EA has consistently hurt the overall quality of products being delivered to the gaming industry and they have shown no desire to become anyone’s favorite.
However, it may be the right time for the company to start making some changes. FIFA bailed out the franchise, Madden’s release was disastrous, and Amazon may want to buy the company.
It hasn’t been a good year for EA Games. Let’s break down everything that happens.
EA’s bad years started when their contract negotiations with FIFA ended in smoke. The contract has been one of the longest partnerships the gaming world has ever seen. The two organizations have worked together ever since 1993which means that EA has been producing soccer games under the FIFA wing for almost 30 years.
However, the FIFA franchise has been anything but stellar. On paper, it is the best-selling sports franchise in the world. In reality, FIFA has become a joke in the gaming industry due to EA’s tendency to give their fans practically the exact same game as last year. At this point, new FIFA games sound more like a season pass rather than an actual game. This is probably the main reason why the developers are the most hated in the industry.
Surprisingly, the termination of the contract has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of FIFA games. ONE report by New York Times revealed that FIFA was looking to double the licensing fee EA must pay each year. This license fee is what allows EA to use the FIFA trademark and it costs them approx 150 million dollars a year. FIFA wanted to increase this number to 300 million dollars annually, and EA was not happy about that.
EA probably would have ended up paying double the price, but what didn’t suit them was the change in licensing parameters FIFA proposed. FIFA also wanted to use its brand elsewhere to secure more brand deals. This could have potentially made billions for FIFA, but it cost EA money. Peter Moorea former head of EA’s Sports division, was not satisfied:
“We’ve literally spent hundreds of millions of dollars building this, and you’re telling me that Epic Games can come in and license the name that we’ve built and that we’ve put at the center and that has become synonymous with gaming?’
At the same time another report suggested that EA wanted to involve more football through game highlights and introduce NFTs. It was clear that both organizations had different visions for the future of the franchise, and neither could come to an agreement to extend their contract.
EA is still committed to soccer games and will continue to make such games under the name EA Sports FC. The good thing about all of this for EA is that they licensed thousands of players and hundreds of teams allowing them to use their names. EA will continue to use this license and produce soccer games without the FIFA trademark.
FIFA, on the other hand, is already in talks with game developers to continue the FIFA franchise on its own. Gianni InfantinoThe president of FIFA, clearly wants the audience to know that the FIFA name will still be the best in the game of football.
“I can assure you that the only authentic, real game bearing the FIFA name will be the best available to players and football fans. The FIFA name is the only global, original title. FIFA 23, FIFA 24 , FIFA 25 and FIFA 26 and so on – the constant is the FIFA name and it will remain forever and remain THE BEST.”
GIANNI INFANTINO VIA A PRESS RELEASE
But the problem here is that all of this leaves EA in quite a pickle. The company spent years developing the FIFA brand on its own and has created a large fan base that continues to buy its games regardless of the big price tags and lack of new features. Even if FIFA manages to play a mediocre game, the game will still sell incredibly well because of the FIFA name and what it stands for.
EA Sports FC, on the other hand, will also sell. But EA has some competition in the market now. PES games were always there but they never really managed to scale like EA did with their games and the FIFA brand always prevailed. Now EA doesn’t have that card up its sleeve.
EA’s bad years don’t stop there. That Madden franchise has hit a bit of a speed bump in the past decade. This time, EA was dedicated to creating a polished version of the game, but that’s not really what happened here. The developers came up with their new ‘FieldSense’ technology that should make the game more natural and fluid.
The game is so unbelievably bad that even players who are in the game do not hold back from speaking out against the game.
EA is pinky lift that this Madden ‘will work’ didn’t really turn out to be true.
On August 26, the news broke that Amazon was investigating a possible acquisition of EA. This news was released by USA today and seemed credible at the time. With EA’s latest game, it certainly sounded like a possibility. However, it was later revealed by CNBC that this was false. EA did not comment on this, while Amazon representatives simply said so they do not comment on rumours.
While the news has been shut down, for now there must be some sort of chatter that triggered the leak. An organization like USA Today won’t just post something if its source isn’t reliable.
Amazon has made attempts to enter the gaming ecosystem. It currently owns Rykthe largest streaming service on the internet, and has also launched its own cloud gaming service called Amazon Luna. It would make sense if they are looking to buy a gaming company.
There’s no telling what’s going to happen with EA. They can no longer play FIFA games. F1 2022 is bad, Madden is a mess and the NBA has been out of date for years. There is no news of a new Sims 5 game and Battlefield 2042 was a hot pile of garbage. FIFA was a constant for EA and despite their intention to still make EA Sports FC, I find it unlikely that they will pull in as many sales as they did with the FIFA brand.
However, the news of Amazon’s acquisition is quite interesting. There are chances that things can work out exactly like what happened with Activision with the acquisition from Microsoft. Activision Blizzard was a mess with sexual harassment scandals, incidents of people destroying evidence, inappropriate employee behavior, and a CEO who had no idea how badly his ship was sinking.
So with that said, we know that Amazon is looking to enter the gaming industry a little more directly. It is a perfectly reasonable possibility that the news of their acquisition leaked much earlier than they would have liked, which is why both parties rejected the idea completely.
It’s all speculation at this point. But things should be clearer when EA Sports FC comes out next year.