EA CEO says FIFA license has been a ‘hurdle’ to growing franchises

Electronic Arts chief executive Andrew Wilson said he believed FIFA’s licensing had been a “hurdle” for the company to develop the franchise.

Speak at an internal company meeting in November with information related to VGC, Wilson reportedly said that while the company had “had a good relationship with FIFA over the past 30+ years” it was “a struggle” to get FIFA to acknowledge the type of things the company wanted to create. According to Wilson, this is because FIFA said EA’s license “only covers certain categories”.

“As we look to the future, we want to grow the franchise, and ironically, the FIFA license is actually a roadblock in that regard,” he said.

“Our players tell us that they want more cultural and commercial brands that are relevant to them into their market, more deeply into the game…brands like Nike. But because of FIFA’s relationship with Adidas, we can’t Make it happen.”

“Our players tell us they want more game modes, different things outside of 11v11, and different types of gameplay. I’ll tell you it’s a struggle to get FIFA to acknowledge the type of things we want to create because they Saying our license only covers certain categories.”

Wilson went on to say that players want the game to expand “more broadly” into the digital ecosystem, but the FIFA license actually “prevents” it from doing what players want.

“FIFA is just the name on the box, but they prevent our ability to get into the areas the players want,” he said.

It is believed that this year’s FIFA games will still be branded, but Wilson seems unsure whether EA and FIFA will be able to extend the current agreement.

“At the end of the day, I don’t know if we’re going to get there,” he said. “The irony is that if we didn’t do that and we were able to rename our game and control the global football ecosystem that we’re going to build, the irony is that we might generate more revenue and have more more fans, and more engagement over time.

“Because we’ll be able to work with more partners, we’ll be able to build more game formats, we’ll be able to expand deeper and wider into the digital ecosystem that’s structured around football, and most importantly we’ll be able to very Act very fast.

“We’ll work on it, we’ll think about it, we want to be a good partner for FIFA, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we end up going in a different direction. Ultimately, I think it’s good for our gamers It might even be better than continuing to keep those four letters on the box.”

Back in October, EA publicly stated that it was considering renaming the FIFA franchise, and a trademark application filed the same month suggested that the FIFA series could eventually be called EA Sports FC.

EA has also suggested that if it cannot reach an agreement with FIFA, EA will still obtain a separate license from FIFA covering leagues, players and stadiums.

Meanwhile, FIFA responded that it was currently engaging with “various industry players, including developers, investors and analysts.”