Why FIFA will struggle to compete with EA Sports FC after acrimonious split

Why FIFA will struggle to compete with EA Sports FC after acrimonious split
FIFA allegedly wanted to double the fee for using its name for the next decade to an eye-watering $2.5 billion. (FIFA.com)
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Updated 11 April 2023

Why FIFA will struggle to compete with EA Sports FC after acrimonious split

Why FIFA will struggle to compete with EA Sports FC after acrimonious split
  • 30-year partnership has come to an end and left FIFA without a video game developer
  • The football community appears to be championing EA Sports FC without seeing a screenshot

In 2022, after 30 years of making FIFA games together, the world football governing body and video game developer and publisher EA Sports, announced they were splitting up. It was acrimonious.

The specific details about what caused the split will likely be kept under a non-disclosure agreement forever. However, according to a 2021 New York Times report citing insider knowledge, EA Sports allegedly wanted more rights as part of any new deal, and FIFA allegedly wanted to double the fee for using its name for the next decade to an eye-watering $2.5 billion. Despite these reported claims, one thing is sure, there is no going back for either party.

Since the breakup, both camps have had contrasting lines of communication. EA Sports immediately announced EA Sports FC, which will arrive in 2023. The likes of Liverpool FC and Real Madrid supported the reveal with posts featuring the hashtag #EASportsFC and an announcement that they would be in the new game.

On the other side, FIFA released a bombastic statement that suggests it will make the best football game around.

“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,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said.

“The FIFA name is the only global, original title. FIFA 23, FIFA 24, FIFA 25 and FIFA 26, and so on — the constant is the FIFA name, and it will remain forever and remain THE BEST,” Infantino said.

There is no doubting Infantino’s enthusiasm — he capitalized “THE BEST” — but if he thinks FIFA can find a new developer and simply go head-to-head with EA Sports, he is delusional. The following are the reasons.

EA Sports is not just the former developer of the FIFA series, it is deeply entrenched in football and is one of those rare video games that has transcended the medium and made it into the mainstream. EA Sports is everywhere.

It is on television broadcasts of the English Premier League, the sleeves of matchday officials and partners with clubs and leagues such as Juventus and Serie A. FIFA may work with another video game’s studio, but it is unlikely to receive as much exposure.

This manifestation of marketing prowess has seen EA Sports’ FIFA completely outplay its nearest rival, Konami’s eFootball — formerly Pro Evolution Soccer or PES. What started as a closely contested battle in the early 2000s has turned into a period of unbelievable dominance for FIFA.

There was a time the Japanese-developed PES sold almost as many copies, with fans preferring better, more realistic gameplay than FIFA. But it is no longer a contest because EA Sports regularly outsells its opposition by around 10 to 1. Outside of eFootball, there are no other rivals except the upcoming free-to-play UFL from an unknown game studio. It might be brilliant, but people will only want to play the game that their mates, celebs and pro footballers are playing, and this will be EA Sports FC.

Like it or not, EA Sports is adept at creating monopolies in the games industry. The route to the top for FIFA, and its Madden NFL series, was to lock rivals out of official licenses while it tweaked and honed its game. These actions presented gamers with two options — play with the authentic teams, players, leagues and likenesses of EA Sports games, or get involved in a game where Manchester City are called Manchester B and play in a sponsor-less kit. It was a no-brainer.

FIFA will no doubt use the same tactics on EA Sports FC. For example, from now on, we do not expect to see an official women’s or men’s World Cup mode in an EA Sports game. But the world football governing body stands to lose the most following the separation as it has no jurisdiction over club competitions or players, which matters most to fans.

The realization that FIFA’s most significant contribution to the video game series was its name will sink in eventually. There is a chance it will happen when it tries to purchase or build a video games studio to make — in Infantino’s words “THE BEST FIFA” game — and cannot source the talent. Or the magnitude of what it is up against could appear when it tries to acquire licenses it desperately needs for authentic player likenesses, stadiums and more, and finds out EA has exclusive access to them.

FIFA could make an excellent game in the future, and healthy competition for EA Sports FC is needed to ensure the games evolve, but video game fans are more ruthless than football fans. They will not stick around through the highs and the lows waiting for their “team” to come good, they will jump ship to the superior one without a second thought. Without EA Sports’ relentless marketing machine, savvy license deals and a game engine that helps it sell tens of millions of copies annually, the chances of FIFA competing on an equal footing is as likely as San Marino winning the World Cup.


UAE e-gaming boosted with new deal 

UAE e-gaming boosted with new deal 
Updated 25 May 2023

UAE e-gaming boosted with new deal 

UAE e-gaming boosted with new deal 
  • Agreement leverages both organizations’ talents and resources to help expand the regions’ sports, e-sports and leisure sectors

DUBAI: Abu Dhabi Entertainment Company has signed a deal with PRO Events to launch e-gaming and e-sports events in Abu Dhabi and Al-Ain.

The Memorandum of Understanding also leverages both organizations’ talents and resources to help expand the regions’ sports, e-sports and leisure sectors, Emirates News Agency reported on Thursday.  

Khalid Al Mutawa, Acting Chief Executive Officer of ADEC, and Rashed Abdulla, General Manager of PRO Events, signed the agreement.

“ADEC and PRO Events share a common vision for Abu Dhabi and are committed to working together to achieve this vision,” Abdulla said. “Through this partnership, we hope to create a meaningful impact and make a positive difference in the lives of our customers.”

PRO Events is a subsidiary of Al-Ain Club Investment Company.
 


Gamers Without Borders raises $10m for humanitarian aid

Gamers Without Borders raises $10m for humanitarian aid
Updated 24 May 2023

Gamers Without Borders raises $10m for humanitarian aid

Gamers Without Borders raises $10m for humanitarian aid
  • Event has exceeded ‘biggest hopes’ says Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan, chairman of Saudi Esports Federation
  • Sum will be donated to Direct Relief, International Medical Corps UNICEF, King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, World Food Programme and UNHCR

RIYADH: Gamers Without Borders, the world’s largest charitable esports event, has concluded this year’s edition by raising a total of $10 million for its humanitarian aid partners.

The money will go to Direct Relief, International Medical Corps, UNICEF, King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, the UN’s World Food Programme and the UNHCR. The donations were made by teams, players and gamers worldwide.

The funds will be used for urgent humanitarian projects and add to the work achieved through the $30 million in donations from the GWB’s three previous editions.

Organized and held virtually by the Saudi Esports Federation, this year’s event was titled “Gamers Without Borders: Gaming For Good.”

From April 10, six weeks of action saw the GWB host five tournaments across four major gaming titles: StarCraft II, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), Rocket League and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege. One particularly special moment saw NAVI Javelins triumph at the first all-women CS:GO tournament at GWB to claim a $1 million prize for charity.

Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan, chairman of the Saudi Esports Federation, said: “‘Gamers Without Borders: Gaming For Good’ has exceeded our biggest hopes and proven once again how powerful gaming and esports can be as a force for good. The global gaming community has come together in their droves to provide resources that can make a sizeable change in the lives of people less fortunate than us.

“Everyone at the Saudi Esports Federation is exceptionally proud of Gamers Without Borders and what it has helped achieve in the world. None of this, however, is possible without the help of our humanitarian aid partners and the support of gamers from every corner of the planet. We thank all of them immensely.”

Rebecca Milner, chief advancement officer, International Medical Corps, said: “The support we receive from players in the Gamers Without Borders tournaments is essential to our work around the world helping people affected by conflict, disaster and disease. For example, gamers who choose us can make a real difference now in the lives of innocent men, women and children affected by the earthquakes in Syria and Turkiye, and who are caught up in the conflicts in Ukraine, Yemen or any of the other 30 countries where we provide medical services and training.”

As an added incentive to GWB this year, winning teams and players from StarCraft II, Rocket League and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege all advance to the finals of Gamers8: The Land of Heroes. Two teams from the men’s CS:GO tournament also qualified.

The world’s biggest gaming and esports festival starts on July 6 for eight weeks at the purpose-built arena at Boulevard Riyadh City. This year, Gamers8: The Land of Heroes has a $45 million total prize pool, which is triple that of Gamers8 in 2022.


MIBR and Fnatic claim ‘Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’ glory, as Gamers Without Borders reaches dramatic finale

MIBR and Fnatic claim ‘Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’ glory, as Gamers Without Borders reaches dramatic finale
Updated 19 May 2023

MIBR and Fnatic claim ‘Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’ glory, as Gamers Without Borders reaches dramatic finale

MIBR and Fnatic claim ‘Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’ glory, as Gamers Without Borders reaches dramatic finale
  • Held virtually by Saudi Esports Federation, the fourth GWB began on April 10 and has hosted five tournaments across four gaming titles
  • Winners defeat ATK and Looking4Org in finals to each earn $600,000 of $2.5 million humanitarian aid prize pool

RIYADH: MIBR have triumphed in the North American section while Fnatic claimed victory in the European section of the men’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) tournament at Gamers Without Borders, the world’s largest charitable esports event.

Held virtually by the Saudi Esports Federation under the banner of “Gaming for Good,” GWB’s CS:GO men’s event brought to a close the elite section of this year’s competition.

The fourth Gamers Without Borders event began on April 10 and has since hosted five tournaments across four major gaming titles: StarCraft II, CS:GO (with separate men and women’s events), Rocket League and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege.

In the North American section of CS:GO, team MIBR beat ATK 2-0 to claim the biggest share; $600,000 of the charity prize pool of $2.5 million.

MIBR team said: “We are very happy to win this spot in a championship with great teams, and that promises to be one of the best of the year. We worked hard to beat good opponents and had an exciting final against ATK.

“Our performance was good and we were able to show that we are going into the championship to fight among the best teams.”

In the European section of CS:GO, team Fnatic defeated Looking4Org with the same result (2-0) to also pocket $600,000 of the total charity prize pool.

CS:GO player, William “Mezii” Merriman from Fnatic, said: “It feels great to win at GWB. It’s a big confidence-booster for us after a disappointing ending to our major run. Open qualifiers are always a big grind and can be tough without preparation but we all reset well and performed well overall.

“Overall, our mental reset and ability to still have the confidence after the major is the thing that pleased me most about the team. We performed really well in a lot of close games during the qualifier and managed to pull through; shows a lot about our team atmosphere and chemistry to be able to bounce back instantly.”

Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi Esports Federation chairman, said: “Gamers Without Borders has once again proved the immense power of ‘Gaming for Good,’ providing a platform for elite esports as well as numerous opportunities to improve the lives of people in need across the globe.

“We thank all those involved in this year’s edition of Gamers Without Borders — from the teams, players, support staff and fans, all of whom have played their part in making our world a better place.”

Players and teams participating at GWB’s CS:GO, Rocket League and Rainbow Six Siege tournaments have been participating for a $10 million charity prize pool.

The proceeds from the GWB prize pool will be donated to humanitarian aid partners Direct Relief, IMC, UNICEF, King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, World Food Programme and UNHCR. They in turn will direct funds to a variety of urgent humanitarian needs.

GWB winning teams and players from StarCraft II, Rocket League and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege all advance to the finals at Gamers8: The Land of Heroes, the biggest gaming and esports festival worldwide, which begins from July 6.

A $45 million total prize pool, triple that of Gamers8 last year, is up for grabs for those competing over an eight-week period at the purpose-built arena at Boulevard Riyadh City.


Counter-Strike: Global Offensive concludes 2023 Gamers Without Borders

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive concludes 2023 Gamers Without Borders
Updated 17 May 2023

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive concludes 2023 Gamers Without Borders

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive concludes 2023 Gamers Without Borders
  • Teams battle for $2.5m humanitarian aid prize pool in Saudi Esports Federation virtual competition
  • Open qualifiers for the North America and European sections take place on May 17-18

RIYADH: Gamers Without Borders, the world’s largest charitable electronic sports event, will conclude its 2023 edition with a men’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) tournament featuring a humanitarian aid prize pool of $2.5 million.
The North American section of CS:GO will involve open qualifiers, a best-of-one matchup throughout the open bracket, and a best-of-three final match. Open qualifiers for the North America section are underway.
CS:GO’s European section similarly features open qualifiers, a best-of-one matchup throughout the open bracket, and a best-of-three final match. Open qualifiers for the European section begin at 6 p.m. Saudi Arabian time on Wednesday, May 17.
Last month, NAVI Javelins triumphed at the first all-women CS:GO tournament at GWB after defeating Ninjas in Pyjamas 3-0 in the final to claim a $1 million prize for charity from the tournament’s $2.5 million prize pool.
Held virtually by the Saudi Esports Federation, the men’s CS:GO prize pool at GWB will be donated to humanitarian aid partners Direct Relief, IMC, UNICEF, King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, World Food Programme (WFP) and UNHCR. The funds will be directed to addressing a variety of urgent humanitarian needs in the world today.
Faisal bin Homran, head of esports at the Saudi Esports Federation, said: “The men’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament at Gamers Without Borders will bring to a conclusion another series of incredible esports titles and action at the world’s largest charitable esports event. Our fourth edition of Gamers Without Borders has been greatly received by the worldwide gaming and esports community and furthers the Saudi Esports Federation’s illustrious standing in the global scene.”
From a six-week period which began on April 10, GWB has hosted five tournaments across four major gaming titles: StarCraft II, CS:GO (with separate men and women’s events), Rocket League, and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege.
Winning teams and players from StarCraft II, Rocket League, and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege have advanced to the finals at Gamers8: The Land of Heroes in Riyadh this summer. The world’s biggest gaming and esports festival starts on July 6 for eight weeks at a purpose-built arena at Boulevard Riyadh City. Gamers8: The Land of Heroes has a $45 million total prize pool, triple that of Gamers8 last year.
Players and teams participating at GWB’s 2023 CS:GO, Rocket League, and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege tournaments have been competing for a $10 million charity prize pool.


Team BDS claim ‘Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege’ triumph at Gamers Without Borders event

Team BDS claim ‘Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege’ triumph at Gamers Without Borders event
Updated 15 May 2023

Team BDS claim ‘Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege’ triumph at Gamers Without Borders event

Team BDS claim ‘Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege’ triumph at Gamers Without Borders event
  • The team won the $300,000 top prize at the GWB contest

RIYADH: Team BDS won the European section of the Gamers Without Borders “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege” event, organized by the Saudi Esports Federation.

The team won the $300,000 top prize at the GWB contest, the world’s largest charitable esports event, after four days of action.

They beat WYLDE 3-2 in the grand final, following their 2-1 win over MNM Gaming in the semifinal. Beaten finalists WYLDE overcame Wolves Esports 2-1 in their semifinal but failed to get the better of the champions in an exhilarating GWB matchup.

Elsewhere, in the North American GWB “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege” section, M80 were the victors after powering past past DarkZero 3-2 in the grand final; while Ninjas in Pyjamas recorded the same scoreline over Team Liquid to claim South American success.

The Japan/Korea acclaim went to CYCLOPS, who breezed past SANDBOX Gaming 3-0 in that section’s final matchup. Each winning team also claimed $300,000 of the total $2.5 million humanitarian aid prize pool.

Each team’s win in the regional sections means they now qualify directly for Gamers8: The Land of Heroes, the biggest gaming and esports festival worldwide, which takes place from July 6, and is also organized by the Saudi Esports Federation.

As well as the “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege” contest, GWB is hosting five tournaments across three other major gaming titles over a six-week period, which began on April 10, with contests in “StarCraft II,” “CS:GO” (with separate men and women’s events) and “Rocket League.”

The winning teams and players will advance to the finals, which take place at a purpose-built venue at Boulevard Riyadh City for eight weeks, with a record prize pool of $45 million up for grabs.

Players and teams participating at GWB’s 2023 “CS:GO,” “Rocket League” and “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege” tournaments are competing for a $10 million charity prize pool.

The proceeds will be donated to humanitarian aid partners Direct Relief, IMC, UNICEF, King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, World Food Programme and UNHCR.