After almost 30 years it's over. The first "FIFA" appeared in 1993 and immediately became a box-office hit with half a million copies sold. The football series from EA Sports wrote a unique success story. The series was later able to sell up to 26 million units per year and, last but not least, generated astronomical revenues thanks to microtransactions. But this year the license will not be renewed - the "FIFA" series has come to an end.
During the 2000s, a real duel between Konami and EA Sports loomed. The camps of digital soccer fans were divided, the duel was called "FIFA" versus "Pro Evolution Soccer". One of the biggest arguments why EA games have had more success has to do with the licenses. Because thanks to the official FIFA rights, EA Sports had the opportunity to display all squads, jerseys, coats of arms, stadiums, and, and, and in their "FIFA" games, right down to the lower divisions.
Konami wanted to counter this and tried to buy the UEFA licenses, i.e. the Europa League and the Champions League. But it was too late, the "FIFA" brand was so established and popular that "Pro Evolution Soccer" lost out permanently in the 2010s. The sales figures prove it: While the ruble at EA Sports kept rolling, Konami's business fell through the roof. The desperate attempt to relaunch the game in 2021 as a free-to-play game has also failed terribly so far. Konami's "eFootball" is one of the lowest rated games of all time on the gaming platform Steam.
Instead, EA Sports, based in Vancouver, Canada, is planning to continue producing its game as usual - even if FIFA doesn't like it: not too much should change for players due to the loss of FIFA rights. Because EA Sports still holds a large number of licenses, including those of the Bundesliga and the English Premier League. The fact that FIFA President Giovianni Infantino (52) announced that the association wants to produce its own game in the future should not change that much, because the dominance of EA Sports seems too great.
EA Sports is therefore planning to launch its game "EA F.C." name and carry on as before. The game developer has every good reason to do so, after all, the company is said to have made more than 20 billion dollars with its football games in the 29 years of cooperation with FIFA. Because "FIFA 23", which will be released on September 30th, is the last of its kind, interest should be particularly great - and make the tills ring again.
In the future it will be exciting to see whether a three-way battle between EA Sports, Konami and FIFA can develop in the coming years - or whether Electronic Arts' market dominance will now continue. That's exactly what industry observers assume, because they haven't really taken FIFA's announcement to produce their own game seriously so far. Instead, they rely on EA Sports and its decades of expertise in the race for the digital soccer crown.