EA Sports FC: Why FIFA split means there are 'no limits' on new games, with fresh features and 'immense' freedom set to benefit fans for years to come
EA Sports FC will hit screens across the world in 2023 in what will be EA Sports' first football video game title since their split from long-standing partner FIFA in 2022.
The conclusion of a three-decade-long association sparked plenty of intrigue in the community, with fans of the famous FIFA franchise now eagerly anticipating what EA has in store.
EA Sports Vice President of Brand, David Jackson, recently spoke to the Footballco Business Podcast about what the future holds for the new game and his excitement about the "limitless" potential he feels has now opened up for them since the parting of ways with FIFA.
Here, GOAL brings you a few things we learned from the conversation.
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'Limitless potential' of EA Sports FC
The split from FIFA has ostensibly freed EA Sports up in a business sense and, accordingly, they are now much more flexible in terms of how they can respond to the desires and needs of the gamers who play their game. Crucially, this has facilitated a 'mindset shift' among the creative teams as they seek to expand horizons.
"We think that the growth potential there is immense," Jackson told the Footballco Business Podcast. "We now have limitless potential to explore new areas that some of our players are already asking for, in terms of the ability to maybe integrate broadcast highlights or content, or different access points into the game, different modes within our product is really interesting.
"But the main one - the one that we've spoken most meaningfully about with our studio team - is that it's a shift in mindset. You know, you move away from renting the farm for so long then you begin to own it and you think differently about how you curate that experience and how you build it. There are no limits on the imagination of our creative teams now and that manifests in a few ways.
"FIFA, as I said, was a fantastic partner and it authenticated and verified our platform very early on in our existence as being the de facto, authentic football experience. But, as the scope and scale of our business grows, we need to have freedom of genre, modality of play, or platform choices for our great football experience."
This means that EA Sports now has "the opportunity to explore the broadest possible dimensions of global fandom" within their game, with avenues also potentially opening up in terms of apparel, consumer goods and the realm of technology broadcast.
- EA Sports
Inspiration behind new triangle logo
In any rebrand, configuring the most striking and memorable logo is a key aspect and EA Sports FC has settled on a triangular motif. So where did that particular three-pronged theme come from?
Total football, tiki-taka and Ted Lasso have all formed part of the conversation since the launch of the new logo, as Jackson explains: "Triangles are the language of the beautiful game, when you think of [Johan] Cruyff, Pep [Guardiola] and all the stuff Ted [Lasso] imagined in his weird fever dream (a reference to the tactical revelation that comes to Coach Lasso in season three).
The world of football has joined the club, make sure you do too. Sign up now: https://t.co/w1dtuLclDp#EASPORTSFC | Ft. @Santandave1 pic.twitter.com/dcaA4q87DT— EA SPORTS FIFA (@EASPORTSFIFA) April 13, 2023
"When we spoke to our studio team and they were talking about the triangle idea, one of the guys actually said that the very atomic unit of our game - the smallest polygon that makes up the game - they're all triangular.
"Then the very obvious one is the player indicator symbol that sits above every athlete's head in every game and that was the one that really nailed it for us. That's a symbol that is unique to our platform. Even if you put a triangle above the heads of players on a highlight reel, it would start to look like FIFA."
- EA SPORTS
Women's football 'phenomenally important'
A lot more emphasis has been placed on women's football in recent iterations of FIFA and that will expand in EA Sports FC, so it is likely that we will see even more women's teams and players in the game.
Jackson said: "It's phenomenally important for us that we elevate and accelerate women's football through our platform. I think the opportunity is immense and the opportunity for us to establish a platform for women's football to grow and scale is meaningful."
He added: "There's lots of new content coming to the platform. Even in FIFA 23, we added a bunch of leagues and we'll continue to do that. People can expect that to grow and scale because we think that we can access a brand new demographic through that content and we can serve players with the content that they love and they're beginning to kind of start a lifelong love affair with those leagues."
Join the Club
In naming the new game 'EA Sports FC', the rebrand invites players to "join the club". In essence, in a world where loyalties increasingly lie with individual players, EA is privileging a community connection.
"Interestingly, the EA Sports FC name has been with us since 2011," says Jackson. "FC is a constant in the world of football, it's a fairly universally translatable suffix for a football club. The thinking and the theory has been with us for a while."
- EA Sports
Evolution of EA Sports FC - what's next?
Football simulation games have grown and changed as much, if not more, than the sport itself and that is not likely to change any time soon as EA Sports gurus chart further evolution into the future. For the virtual realm, inspiration is being sought from sports such as basketball that are considered "all action, all the time", while a blend of real-world broadcast and platform play is being pondered too.
"The game has evolved immensely," acknowledges Jackson. "We've got videos and pieces of content that show that progression and it's literally like the evolution of man: it's gone from those really loved, rose-tinted perspective, hugely engaged in 8-bit games to now where at certain times you can't really distinguish it from the real thing.
"We've evolved the game in terms of visual quality immensely over time, but also, what Gen Z and Gen A expect from an experience has changed considerably and there are different consumption patterns now.
"There's a lack of desire for the middle bits (of a game) - they want action, they want the highlights. Certain sports have really benefited from that. When you think about basketball, basketball is a game of highlights. Part of the popularity of that sport and the acceleration of popularity is that it's all action, all the time.
EA SPORTS FC is the next chapter in The World’s Game.— Premier League (@premierleague) April 6, 2023
We can’t wait to show you the future of football, sign up at @EASPORTSFIFA to Join The Club this July.
"Football's different, it's more of a flowing symphony of experience and you've got to understand that a great nil-nil can be played out sometimes, but that doesn't always register with a younger cohort who want a little bit more from it...
"Over time, the ability to be able to blend those things and allow for players at half-time to change the result (of a game), or to work with fantastic broadcasters, who truly understand the demographic, to be able to supply those experiences between the games is really there.
"EA is a very intentional, data-driven organisation and it understands players really well. I think we'll continue to evolve our experiences in concert with what's desired."
So, fans can rest assured that their input will be a genuine driving force in the direction of travel for EA Sports FC. Exciting experiences lie ahead in the next chapter of 'The World's Game'.
Listen to the Footballco Business Podcast
Our guest on this Footballco Business Podcast is David Jackson, VP of Brand for EA Sports FC!— Footballco (@Footballco) May 16, 2023
🎨 Creating the EA Sports FC visual identity
⚽️ What parting ways with FIFA really means for fans
🏃♀️ Women's football
🕹 FIFA International Soccer (93)
🎧 https://t.co/iMxDLckRLe pic.twitter.com/816ogTNiE8
You can listen to the full conversation with David Jackson on the Footballco Business podcast here. The episode is also available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and all the usual podcast platforms.