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EA ditches the FIFA licence


Isaac
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Feels like something marketing/advertising can solve though. I expect everyone will be aware by the time the next iteration comes along. Easy to spend a load of money telling people that the same game has a new name. Hard to spend a load of money to build a new game that matches / surpasses the old one. 

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The closest experience EA have with this is when they dropped Tiger Woods from the PGA Tour games and replaced him with Rory McIllroy. But their marketing department will pay enough footballers and influencers to make sure everyone knows the 2023 version is the same game with a different name.

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42 minutes ago, BeeJay said:

 

Even with a much smaller and dedicated fanbase, that transition still wasn't easy and took years to properly take hold. I remember at the time having to explain it over and over to people and some still bought champ manager, even after the situation being explained.

 

20 years later it is easy to forget that the transition was hard and took years and years to fully get back to normal.

To be fair all it really took was one go at one of those awful versions of Champ that came out when they had started making FM.

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47 minutes ago, BeeJay said:

 

Even with a much smaller and dedicated fanbase, that transition still wasn't easy and took years to properly take hold. I remember at the time having to explain it over and over to people and some still bought champ manager, even after the situation being explained.

 

20 years later it is easy to forget that the transition was hard and took years and years to fully get back to normal.

 

How much of that is anecdotal on your part? CM as a series was dead after a handful of releases, always outsold by FM.

 

EA have less of a job to do as noted above - their marketing budget is sufficient that the people left in the dark would be a rounding error. They aren't going to lose any money over this, not with $250m a year freed up from not having to pay FIFA for little return.

 

There's also the small matter of EA not having a realistic competitor. I'd be surprised if FIFA can get any developer to produce a game to actually challenge in the timescale they have. 

 

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1 hour ago, BeeJay said:

I'm obviously not of the same opinion as most in here.

 

People buy FIFA, they call it FIFA. The football game that everyone buys is FIFA. The game that people ask others if they play is FIFA.

 

Seriously, are you telling me that locally to you people say things like "Do you play EA FIFA?" to each other at the pub? or "mate I had a banging match on the EA football game last night"?

 

FIFA may be a corrupt organisation and trying to outreach their value but FIFA is the brand of football game right now and that is going to be massive to shift.

 

Now, if EA had gone with FUT, UT or Ultimate Team then they would have been better positioned to deal with the issue. But no, there using a name that a only a tiny minority of the FIFA player base will recognise.

 

Currently, people don't play a football game, they play FIFA.

 

As I said before, there are going to be people who do this if there really is a FIFA game on the shelves. And they're going to be very surprised to find it has no clubs in it. or any of their expected modes (or at least called different things). And most of them are going to just be pissed at the developers, publishers and FIFA and find the EA on. And next year it's fixed. The "new" FIFA is dead and EA win.

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44 minutes ago, Fry Crayola said:

 

How much of that is anecdotal on your part? CM as a series was dead after a handful of releases, always outsold by FM.

 

EA have less of a job to do as noted above - their marketing budget is sufficient that the people left in the dark would be a rounding error. They aren't going to lose any money over this, not with $250m a year freed up from not having to pay FIFA for little return.

 

There's also the small matter of EA not having a realistic competitor. I'd be surprised if FIFA can get any developer to produce a game to actually challenge in the timescale they have. 

 

 

I completely agree, CM was dead after a handful of releases. Each one of those releases was a year. Even a 20% reduction in income in year one would likely put them in the red vs having the license. And that is just for the annual main release, ignoring the loss of the world cup games.

 

Only info I can find on EA income from FIFA:

 

"In its annual report for 2020, EA confirmed that Ultimate Team made more than $1.62bn (£1.15bn).

This is the total revenue for all Ultimate Team modes across EA's catalogue, with Ultimate Team appearing in FIFA, Madden, NHL, NBA and UFC games.

Ultimate Team accounts for 29 per cent of EA's total income and has risen considerably year-on-year, with the game mode taking in $775m (£550m) back in 2017.

In its annual report, EA confirmed the figures and stated that the majority of Ultimate Team revenue comes from FIFA:

"Our most popular live service is the extra content purchased for the Ultimate Team mode associated with our sports franchises.

"Ultimate Team allows players to collect current and former professional players in order to build and compete as a personalized team.

"Net revenue from extra content sales for Ultimate Team was $1,491 million, $1,369 million and $1,180 million during fiscal years 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively, a substantial portion of which was derived from FIFA Ultimate Team."

 

My bet would be that EA are justifying this decision financially by predicting a relatively big loss over the first year, due to decreased revenue and huge marketting costs. Then a recovery in years 3 and 4 to make the overall impact net zero over 4 years but with a much better trajectory in to years 5 and beyond. They have to be confident that no-one else has a competing product and will not be able to be able to take even 20% of their current market share. I probably agree with them but this isn't a clear cut no brainer for EA.

 

I think they will go free to play, which is a guaranteed way of ensuring that even those who buy the wrong game, can immediately rectify their mistake and find their way to EA with no up front cost.

 

"Bought the wrong 'FIFA', don't worry EA has your back, download the correct one for free and spend all of the that UT money with us anyway".

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59 minutes ago, thesnwmn said:

 

As I said before, there are going to be people who do this if there really is a FIFA game on the shelves. And they're going to be very surprised to find it has no clubs in it. or any of their expected modes (or at least called different things). And most of them are going to just be pissed at the developers, publishers and FIFA and find the EA on. And next year it's fixed. The "new" FIFA is dead and EA win.

 

Even better if EA make theirs free to play. No waiting a year then.

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2 minutes ago, BeeJay said:

I think they will go free to play, which is a guaranteed way of ensuring that even those who buy the wrong game, can immediately rectify their mistake and find their way to EA with no up front cost.

 

Isn't that what they've done with Games Pass?

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12 minutes ago, BeeJay said:

My bet would be that EA are justifying this decision financially by predicting a relatively big loss over the first year, due to decreased revenue and huge marketting costs

 

The license would be $250m a year. 

 

If sales alone are responsible for a loss, that would require about a third of the current sales to be lost to people blindly following the license. 

 

That strikes me as a very high proportion, and I can't imagine people spending big on Ultimate Team to be representing much among their number.

 

As you say though, even if there is I don't see this being anything other than a net win in the long term, barring FIFA bankrolling a viable competitor out of the blue.

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This is all assuming there's even going to be another FIFA game coming out in 2023. As people have said, unless someone has been developing a AAA football game completely in secret so that they're ready to release it in 18 months time, and unless that publisher has enormous amounts of money at their disposal to get a new football series off the ground more or less from a standing start, then it seems unlikely EA are going to lose much ground from dumping FIFA. Who else is in a position to make a game that could realistically compete with them? Epic? Microsoft? Seems unlikely to me.

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There is no chance EA make anything close to a loss by doing this. It's worth remembering that CM became FM nearly 20 years ago. These days it will be far easier to communicate the change - you've got all the FIFA playing YouTubers for a start. 

The only potential fly in the ointment is of someone makes a really good game with the FIFA license. Which seems incredibly unlikely. 

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4 minutes ago, K said:

This is all assuming there's even going to be another FIFA game coming out in 2023. As people have said, unless someone has been developing a AAA football game completely in secret so that they're ready to release it in 18 months time, and unless that publisher has enormous amounts of money at their disposal to get a new football series off the ground more or less from a standing start, then it seems unlikely EA are going to lose much ground from dumping FIFA. Who else is in a position to make a game that could realistically compete with them? Epic? Microsoft? Seems unlikely to me.

 

Konami/PES?

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4 minutes ago, Lorfarius said:

 

Konami/PES?

They seem too cheap to stump up for the license. Plus they would inevitably make a cheap piece of shit game which would kill the FIFA brand anyway. They are still making the same mistakes that they have been making for literally years. 

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6 minutes ago, Lorfarius said:

 

Konami/PES?

 

Wasn't eFootball (or whatever PES is calling itself these days) a complete disaster? It looked like Konami were just cashing in on the PES brand, and trying to squeeze some cash out of a bare-bones F2P game.

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The UEFA licence and Champions League must be worth much much more to them. Who really plays internationals on that? Boot up as Wales and all the players are really slow and rubbish (and therefore factually inaccurate).

 

Also never not funny that you play Champions League games on Xbox and it’s all Sony advertising.

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I'm trying to think of other examples where the recognisable brand went to a new developer, while the original developer worked on a new title, and the two games competed against each other.

 

I'm curious about whether there's any pattern in the sales to show whether players stick with the original developers out of loyalty (or superior gameplay), or whether they follow whichever one has the familiar title?

 

Apart from Championship Manager/Football Manager, the biggest split I can think of is Guitar Hero 2 (Harmonix) being split into Guitar Hero 3 (Neversoft) and Rock Band (Harmonix).

But of course both Championship Manager and Guitar Hero were brands that were built up as video games from the very start. They're not an external brand like FIFA.

 

(GoldenEye to Perfect Dark/The World is Not Enough, maybe? ;))

 

 

 

 

 

Also, the FIFA games seem to be unusual among sports series because they use the name of the sport's international governing body, whereas most other branded sports games use national leagues (usually American ones, obviously). For example, there are loads of basketball games that have "NBA" in the title, and a few have used NCAA - but you won't find any using FIBA, even though that's ostensibly the basketball equivalent of FIFA!

 

Same goes for tennis: anyone making a new tennis series isn't going to seek out the ITF, ATP, or WTA brands to put them in the title. (Well, OK, Sega once did.)

 

Also, unlike FIFA's long-term association with EA, not all sports game brands are exclusive: there was a period when Total NBA (Sony), NBA Action (Sega), NBA Live (EA), NBA Full Court Press (Microsoft) and NBA Jam (Acclaim) were all active at the same time.

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1 hour ago, Lorfarius said:

 

Konami/PES?

They can't even remotely afford it, never mind that they have basically killed the series off already.

 

 

And my memory of the cm/fm transition was that it was pretty painless for SI. The first FM afterwards sold just as well as before.

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54 minutes ago, Nick R said:

I'm trying to think of other examples where the recognisable brand went to a new developer, while the original developer worked on a new title, and the two games competed against each other.

 

Halo and Destiny? I think the original developer without the brand recognition worked out better there.

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1 hour ago, Lorfarius said:

 

Isn't that what they've done with Games Pass?


No, you’re getting a 6 month old game on GP/PS Plus. It does feel a bit like get it out there and more people trying it before it goes F2P though.

 

1 hour ago, K said:

 

Wasn't eFootball (or whatever PES is calling itself these days) a complete disaster? It looked like Konami were just cashing in on the PES brand, and trying to squeeze some cash out of a bare-bones F2P game.


I downloaded eFootball for the first time last night, they’ve made progress since that disastrous launch, it’s very light on content etc. but I think it’ll have a chance if they can convince people to come back and also speed up progress adding content and modes. I don’t see it satisfying the Master League/Career single player itch though.

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I don't doubt that there are lots of grannies etc., who will buy the FIFA game for their grandkids who love it, and do so every year, but where do they buy it from?  When a new FIFA game comes out they have stands for it in our Sainsbury's Local - I can't think of any other video game that appears for sale in tiny supermarkets like that.  It's conveniently available in lots of places where grannies do their shopping, and is almost unique, in the UK at least, in having such physical visibility and availability.

 

I'm pretty sure it's EA that arranges for all those stands of boxed copies to appear in local supermarkets, not Sepp Blatter's outfit.

 

Grannies might be confused and not buy EA FC when it appears in the supermarkets a year or two, but I very much doubt that a non-EA FIFA game will be available for purchase in the places where they shop.

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Ideally this would destroy the unethical and corrupt child gambling machine that is EA’s ultimate team, but I just don’t think brands matter that much these days. It’s the gambling and community that will keep them on top. They’ll be fine and can redirect the money into lobbying the gov that they’re not evil incarnate. 
 

The unethical and corrupt FIFA might be properly hurt by it though. That name will slip away from the public consciousness and it will be easier to convict them for their various corruptions. 
 

But more than likely both with go from strength to strength being scum. 

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2 hours ago, Nick R said:

I'm trying to think of other examples where the recognisable brand went to a new developer, while the original developer worked on a new title, and the two games competed against each other.

 

I guess on a broader scale you get the visionaries going off and forming their own studios - Capcom to Platinum, or Iga conceiving Bloodstained.

 

Or, uh, Inafune and Mighty No. 9.

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9 hours ago, Jg15 said:

I think FIFA branding will sell a game regardless of its quality which is exactly what FIFA themselves are betting on. Remember that football games are bought by a huge player base of non "hardcore" gamers who won't be clued up to the circumstances etc.


Nah, disagree with this. Even the ‘non-hardcore’ gamers will be aware of the change - whether it’s in an advert on their console or on a bus or some other way.

 

You will get the odd gran buying this new FIFA for her grandkid though.

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It will be interesting to find out what they are going to call this new thing - because they can't use either "Football" or "Soccer" in it otherwise they will have to do two versions 

 

(In America "Football" is something they play with their hands - exactly like Rugby)

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4 minutes ago, Fry Crayola said:

They've called it variously FIFA Soccer and FIFA Football depending on market in the past. 

 

It would be far from the first game to have region-specific titling.

 

Seems not to be a done thing these days though - we can't have a Marathon now, we have to have a Snickers

 

EDIT - wow just googled that - it's been 30 years!

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