In an internal company meeting back in November of last year, EA CEO Andrew Wilson reportedly talked about how the FIFA license has actually hindered the company from expanding its soccer franchise into new horizons.
As reported by VGC, Wilson told many of EA’s employees that the FIFA license is nothing but essentially just four letters on a box for every non-World Cup year. He also talked about how this license is not paramount to the franchise’s brand identity in the grand scheme of things, and that EA might just be better off without this highly expensive and highly restrictive license.
“I would argue – and this may be a little biased – that the FIFA brand has more meaning as a video game than it does a governing body of soccer,” Wilson said. “We don’t take that for granted and we try not to be arrogant. We’ve worked really hard to try and make FIFA understand what we need for the future.
“Basically, what we get from FIFA in a non-World Cup year is the four letters on the front of the box, in a world where most people don’t even see the box anymore because they buy the game digitally.”
Instead, the company could focus on including more commercial brands like Nike into the game. In addition to this, EA could also expand beyond traditional 11v11 football and its current digital ecosystems.
“Our players tell us they want more modes of play, different things beyond 11v11 and different types of gameplay. I would tell you, it’s been a fight to get FIFA to acknowledge the types of things that we want to create, because they say our licence only covers certain categories,” Wilson reportedly said.
“Our players want us to expand into the digital ecosystem more broadly… our fans are telling us they want us to go and participate in that space. Our FIFA licence has actually precluded us from doing a lot of this stuff. Again, FIFA is just the name on the box, but they’ve precluded our ability to be able to branch into the areas that players want.”
The FIFA organization is reportedly asking for a license fee of $2.5 billion for every World Cup cycle over the next decade, which is double that of what EA has been paying up until this point. Back in November of last year, EA FIFA branding boss David Jackson described the relations between EA and FIFA as “bitter” and said that the company wasn’t sure whether it would move forward with the partner- read more on that through here.