Electronic Arts (EA.O) released its first soccer game sans FIFA on Friday, wagering “FC 24” will keep its best-selling series going and protect it from a downturn.
EA’s nearly three-decade alliance with FIFA terminated last year amid media claims that the videogame developer was asked to boost its $150 million annual payments to FIFA.
The FIFA brand had more exposure and marketing power than “FC 24”. According to some experts, EA’s $32 billion market worth and sales depend on the game’s performance.
“The end of such a high-profile partnership… creates an uncertain future for the publisher,” said NYU Stern School of Business lecturer Joost Van Dreunen in his newsletter.
“Gamers, who fear a franchise weakening, and investors, worried about EA’s revenue, are watching closely.”
With cross-platform play and HyperMotion V technology that uses actual video to create in-game movements, EA has sought to make “FC 24” more appealing.
The US regular version costs $69.99, and the ultimate edition costs $99.99.
Analysts also think the FIFA split will boost “FC 24″‘s marketing budget, which owns rights to most soccer leagues, clubs, and players.
“EA spent under 10% in marketing before losing FIFA, and they’re able to probably double that to 16%,” said Michael Pachter of Wedbush Securities.
“The company is expecting a small decline, like 5%, so I’m confident sales won’t suffer.”
Pachter also noted the franchise’s Ultimate Team game feature, which sells over a billion dollars yearly by letting players buy card packs to construct their teams.
While Apex Legends and other EA titles struggle post-pandemic, this has helped. After missing net bookings forecasts last quarter, the firm laid off 6% of its workers in March.