This will be the first year since 1993 that there won’t be a new FIFA game after Electronic Arts abandoned the exclusive license once negotiations reportedly broke down over the renewal price. FIFA President Gianni Infantino swears the FIFA series will return, however, promising “FIFA 25, 26, 27 and so on – will always be the best egame.”
The remarks came at a press conference following Infantino’s unopposed reelection to continue leading soccer’s embarrassing and allegation-ridden international governing body. “The new FIFA game – the FIFA 25, 26, 27 and so on – will always be the best egame for any girl or boy, we will have news on this very soon,” he said, according to Times reporter Martyn Ziegler. Fans immediately offered mock-ups of what this vaporware might look like:
Today’s comments echoed a hollow commitment Infantino made after the original news of the split with EA first broke. “I can assure you that the only authentic, real game that has the FIFA name will be the best one available for gamers and football fans,” he said at the time, despite having nothing to do with the existing series which was solely developed by EA.
Infantino has a long history of saying stuff that is nonsense, cringey, or offensive, and sometimes all three. Elsewhere during Thursday’s press conference, he reportedly said he was previously inspired to run for President of FIFA because of the Rwandan genocide, a comparison he apparently now disputes making.
EA, which is now continuing its own soccer games under the new title EA Sports FC, apparently walked away from renewing its exclusivity deal with FIFA because the organization wanted $1 billion dollars, and to dilute the name by experimenting with junk like NFTs. The publisher’s hands aren’t clean either, having turned its sports franchises into live-service money makers that revolve around loot boxes while fans are left to deal with incomplete or buggy annual upgrades.
Still, FIFA can’t even manage its own house. I have no idea how they expect to make a game from scratch, or who they could hope to farm it out to. Infantino oversaw a spectacular 2022 World Cup that took place amid incredibly grim human rights abuses. “Today I feel Qatari,” Infantino said before the start of the opening ceremony last November. “Today I feel Arabic. Today I feel African. Today I feel gay. Today I feel disabled. Today I feel [like] a migrant worker.”
The Guardian previously reported that as many as 6,500 migrant workers died while helping Qatar prepare for the World Cup, and it is also illegal to be gay there. Of course, EA’s FIFA 23 was also only too happy to try to sportswash the event.