EA begins purge of Fifa games from digital stores

Electronic Arts (EA) has quietly removed all Fifa titles from the Steam, Xbox, and PlayStation digital stores as it prepares to launch its first Fifa-less football game in three decades.

EA Sports FC 24 is officially releasing on Friday, 29 September 2023, but has been available on a 10-hour early access trial for EA Play Pro members since 21 September 2023.

According to Ars Technica, SteamDB’s tracking data showed the Fifa 23 delisting on Steam coincided with the beginning of the early access trial.

The publication also pointed out that the removal of Fifa 23 came less than a year after it was released in October 2022.

Fifa 22 was only delisted in May 2023, about seven months after sequel Fifa 23 was released, while Fifa 21 was available on Steam until June 2022, roughly eight months after Fifa 22 was released.

The early delisting comes despite Fifa 23 outselling Fifa 22 just six months into its launch — with 10.3 million copies sold.

However, that is still some way short of the best-selling Fifa game ever — Fifa 18 — which raked in 26.4 million sales.

Polygon pointed out that Fifa 22 and Fifa 23 remain playable on the EA Play subscription, which is also part of the PC and Xbox Game Pass.

30-year history of Fifa games

The first-ever football video game from EA — Fifa International Soccer — was released in December 1993 for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis console.

It was later ported to multiple other systems and platforms — including MS-DOS, Game Boy, Super NES, and Master System.

The Fifa video game franchise became a significant revenue driver for EA, but the ending of a decades-long partnership last year means that EA will no longer use the organisation’s name or branding in its titles.

The termination of that agreement came after EA reportedly refused to pay a new $250-million (R4.8 billion) annual licencing fee to continue using the Fifa brand.

The publisher would have had to fork out $1 billion (R19.2 billion) over the deal’s 4-year period.

To put that into perspective, EA made $7.58 billion (R145.42 billion) in revenue in its 2022/2023 financial year, and gross profit of $5.46 billion (R104.75 billion).

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EA begins purge of Fifa games from digital stores