EA Sports Bags FIFA License Until 2022: Should Konami Worry?
Like Madden and NBA 2K, EA Sports' annual FIFA soccer video game is a household name to casual and hardcore gamers alike. The yearly franchise attracts both soccer fanatics and general gamers, and has been played competitively in both online tournaments and large-scale mainstream events.
And now, expect to see the FIFA name featured exclusively on EA Sports titles for years to come, as the two companies have extended their exclusive licensing deal until 2022. While this likely won't come as a surprise to virtual soccer fans everywhere, the deal does have an affect on Konami's still-popular Pro Evolution Soccer series. The Korean-developed Pro Evolution Soccer games have a large fanbase, but cannot compete with EA Sports' annual offering in terms of licenced teams and players. The recent installments of Konami's soccer title have featured superstars such as Cristiano Ronaldo, but EA's renewed FIFA exclusivity means that it will be at least a decade before Konami can use more the sport's more well known names. In order to stay competitive with EA, Konami must find new ways to make their title stand out, whether it comes from the introduction of new leagues or unique in-game content.
"EA SPORTS released the first FIFA-branded soccer game in 1993, and 20 years later our partnership with FIFA continues to be very strong," Head of EA Sports Andrew Wilson told IGN. This contract extension comes after EA's announcement that FIFA 13 sold over 14 million copies, making the deal a natural one for both companies.
While EA will retain their grip on the FIFA name for a long time, Just Push Start points out that the release of Madden 25 will end EA Sports' exclusive rights to the NFL. Could this mean 2K sports may take another crack at virtual pigskin? Sports gamers will simply have to wait and see.