The FIFA video game franchise has been a staple in the lives of gamers for almost three decades. Generation after generation after generation has all played the beloved game at some point or other, however, from October onwards, the franchise will be no more. Well, not in the way that we know and love it anyway.
That’s because it was announced that summer that EA Sports, the California-based game producer, was unable to agree to a new rights deal with FIFA, world football’s governing body. It was reported that Gianni Infantino, president and current head honcho of the sporting organization, was looking for a four-year deal worth up to as much as $1bn. The current game’s creator made the uncomfortable decision that they were unwilling to fork out the eye-watering sum of money, and as such the two organizations will go their separate ways, and FIFA 23 will be the final game produced by EA Sports bearing the FIFA name.
The Future of the FIFA Franchise
Both institutions have stated that their video games will live on. EA Sports announced a rebrand of their franchise, which will be known as EA Sports FC from this autumn onward. FIFA meanwhile has stated that there will be a game under the same name, however, it is unknown who will produce the said game. 2K Sports, creators of NBA 2K and WWE 2K are thought to be among the front runners.
The FIFA franchise has been instrumental in the rise of eSports and online gaming. The FIFA eWorld Cup – or FIFA Interactive World Cup as it used to be known – is currently in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most-entered eSports competition in history. In fact, such has been the growth of online gaming that online bookmakers such as Bovada provide FIFA, League of Legends, and Dota betting odds in 2023, an impossible dream barely a decade ago.
But as much as the nostalgia of the EA Sports and FIFA collaboration may make our hearts heavy, it is time to look to the future. And a question that is yet to be answered is who will be the cover star of the inaugural EA Sports FC franchise. Whichever player is given the honor will go down in history forever as the first-ever cover star of the game, and here are three contenders as to who that player may be.
The obvious front-runner as of right now is Paris Saint-Germain attacker Kylian Mbappé. The Frenchman is arguably the best player in the world as of right now, and he has been in sensational form throughout the 2022/23 football season. He scored eight goals in the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, including a scintillating hat trick in the final, which his side eventually lost to PSG teammate Lionel Messi’s Argentina.
The 24-year-old has been on the cover of the last four FIFA video games, and it would make sense for EA Sports to continue in the same vein by putting him on the first installment of their rebranded franchise. He is arguably the most recognizable face in all of football right now, and he will be disappointed if he isn’t selected as the leading light for EA Sports FC.
There is no denying that Lionel Messi’s powers have waned somewhat in recent years. He will be 36 years of age in June, and it would be unreasonable to expect him to be the player that he was for Barcelona a decade ago. He did roll back the years late in 2022 when he led his country to a first FIFA World Cup crown since the days of the maverick Diego Maradona however. He was even awarded the Golden Ball award, given to the best player in the tournament, for his displays.
While it remains unlikely that EA Sports will opt for Messi, they may very well do so purely out of nostalgia. As we have mentioned, the little Argentinian magician is closer to 40 than he is 30, and football fans and gamers alike don’t know how many years they have left with Messi still front and center. As such, the newly rebranded franchise may show their respect to the game’s greatest-ever player by making him the cover star of the first-ever game to bear the EA Sports FC name.
We feel that the final contender for the honor would be Manchester City striker Erling Haaland. The Norwegian striker has been on fire since trading in Borussia Dortmund and the Bundesliga for the Premier League. He has netted 47 goals in 39 games so far this term, and he shows no sign of slowing down.
His side is on course for the treble this season. They’re through to the semifinals of both the FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League, and they are also hunting Arsenal down in the Premier League title race. The perfect way for him to celebrate his success would be by being crowned as the inaugural cover star of EA Sports FC, solidifying himself as one of the greatest players on the planet today.