There will be no FIFA 23. And if it ever does, it most likely won’t be by Electronic Arts. As has been hinted at throughout the season, the future of football by the sports titan dispenses with the license of the International Federation of Football Association in favor of its own brand: EA Sports FC. Or perhaps EA Sports CFdepending on where you live.
How does this affect the future of the saga? Beyond the fact that Electronic Arts will save a real millionaire by using the acronym and the inevitable confusion for countless devotees of the saga, in practically nothing. The Ultimate Team, Career Mode, Pro Clubs and VOLTA Football will still be there. Whether you’ve played hundreds of hours, or thousands, your favorite obsessions will still be there.
And in a matter of figures, things do not change much: EA Sports FC It will offer more than 700 teams, more than 100 stadiums and 30 leagues. Which, whichever way you look at it, is outrageous. Now, for EA Sports this movement is more than a rebranding: It is the beginning of a new stage.
After almost 30 years of defining the interactive soccer experience, we will soon begin an exciting new era. Next year, EA SPORTS FC will become the future of EA SPORTS football. With our more than 300 licenses in the sport, we are ready to take football experiences to a new level, on behalf of all football fans around the world.
Along the way, the competitions promoted by the International Federation are lost, which -paradoxically- was precisely the great impulse of the saga before many of the big clubs knew how and in what way to offer their own rights for a video game.
From here it is time to ask another essential aspect: how to make EA Sports FC be better than that FIFA 23 that will no longer be And although it is something that Electronic Arts will have to respond to in the coming years, there are aspects that must be addressed sooner rather than later. For now, is what I ask of EA Sports FC and the future of football games:
It’s time to introduce a great new mode
One of the keys to the success of FIFA It has been his way of approaching football in an integral way. From the big competitions to neighborhood football, passing through the classic quick matches. However, since VOLTA was introduced, the saga has been asking for a powerful novelty that will obsess us and rival the star experiences.
According to Electronic Arts, EA Sports FC born as a new independent platform that will allow them to create, innovate and evolve. Maybe it’s time to bring back and rethink the story mode of El Camino that we saw with FIFA 17 or, why not, bring back the arcade spirit and that crazy and acrobatic style of FIFA Street. Even giving room to futsal that, at the moment, has something big left for VOLTA. The possibilities are enormous, of course.
A social space similar to NBA 2K
There is an aspect of the NBA 2K saga that has me trapped and that I would celebrate in case EA Sports FC incorporated it: the social spaces. It is not a metaverse, or anything like that, but rather large areas in which to carry out activities on our own, improvise matches with other players who are passing through and promote football culture in new ways.
Until now, the interactivity with other users and contacts is through the game menus, and that works quite well. But it is time to take that concept even further without prejudice to the fact that the star modes continue to grow.
About next-gen football and PC versions
The maximum difference of FIFA 22 When comparing the versions of consoles of different generations, they reside when they go out to the field of play and have their own name: Hypermotion technology. In essence, it consists of the movements and reactions of the players combining the recorded data of real footballers with the assistance of an AI.
Hypermotion technology is an advance, but the time has come for the saga to stand out to get more out of the new generation of consoles with much more ambitious visuals and animations. In addition to those imperceptible loading times, of course. Because once you get used to them there is no going back.
That’s not to say we’re condemning the Xbox One and PS4 versions to Legacy Editions with roster upgrades. not at all, but if it is a new stage, it is fair to approach it as such and be more ambitious than restrained when hitting the table.
Last but not least, the PC versions must be aligned with those of the Next Generation consoles. what happened with FIFA 22 on desktops beyond Stadia it hasn’t been pretty.
It’s time for the Switch to have a great soccer game
When Nintendo Switch was formally presented to the world, Electronic Arts came to wrap up that console by announcing a custom-made FIFA. The truth is that the result should be better. Five years later, EA Sports is limited to making a template update from FIFA 19and that – whichever way you look at it – is disappointing.
The Nintendo Switch is a wonderful console without a great football game. It has alternatives, like Captain Tsubasa or quite successful indie games, of course, and there is the return of Mario Strikers. But a system capable of moving DOOM Eternal or The Witcher III deserves to be taken advantage of in property and the 107 million users spread all over the world are the ultimate excuse to do so.
A free-to-play model? not at any price
Last year Konami made a brutal rebranding of its soccer saga with eFootball 2022 betting on free and multiplatform play. The result was totally disappointing. Enough to make it more interesting to acquire a new annual installment than to add hours to its free-to-play alternative. The gameplay is the main problem with eFootball, of course, but its lack of content ended up being the biggest mistake.
We can debate long and hard if it’s time for EA to bet on the game as a service, but there is something that cannot be overlooked: even if the most recent installment does not match the sales of the previous one, its numbers are still thunderous against to any other title and stay on top for months. Being relieved, basically, by the new installment. That EA considers a free model would be interesting, but launching a content-poor edition will do more harm than good. As has happened to Konami. For that we already have FIFA Mobile, by the way.
Annual deliveries or seasonal updates?
As we just discussed, FIFA sales are huge. It is, along with NBA 2K, the highest benchmark in terms of sports video games except for a few occasional surprises beyond the annual releases. And although opting for a disappointing free model – at least, in the style eFootball– it can be a mistake, betting on offering a seasonal update that adds the improvements at a suggestive price can be a huge success in terms of retaining fans or get more launch day buyers.
In any case, there is something that should be reviewed: although it is possible to understand that from one installment to another the values of modes such as Ultimate Team or Volta are reset (nothing prevents us from continuing with everything obtained in the previous installment) it is becoming time to give the players who spend the most hours on each game more than a little compensation when jumping from one season to the next. At least more than just a handful of packs and skins.
It’s time to take a different approach to FOMO and deal with the issue with FUT packs.
From FIFA 20 A system of Progress and Seasons was introduced in the saga and several of the game modes in which players were required to have a number of games and milestones to be up to date with respect to the content that was offered. On paper, the more time spent, the better rewards and by extension, better resources when playing online. In practice, we find ourselves with a double problem:
- The side effect of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) of the events, promotions and rewards, is that many times they force you to go through modes or complete challenges that may not be interesting enough. Sometimes by artificially and unnecessarily extending the obtaining of an item and in others by introducing excessively fleeting rewards that have a greater impact online. That must change.
- On the other hand, the emerging rise of the Transfer Market scholars in Ultimate Team and the increasingly complex way of evaluating the cards means that there is only one real beneficiary when it comes to getting fully into the star mode: those who open more envelopes. And that requires too many hours of play or a large financial outlay. It’s time to rethink gratification from the bottom up.
These two contributions, added to many others, can be synthesized in a single factor: make earning rewards and progress more fun and less routine. That the efforts are rewarded fairly and not forced under the pressure that the best articles disappear too soon. And, in general, promoting that the general public can enter the dynamics of the star modes even in the middle of the season.
Let’s talk about Matchmaking (and Handicap)
Officially, the phenomenon known as the Handicap does not exist. In practice, it is quite common to find moments in which the potagia magic of online contradicts any logic and the figures of our own team. We’re not going to debate whether it’s fact, coincidence, or superstition that matchups and conditions during matches are flexible to the detriment of players, but there is one thing EA Sports needs to be clearer about: the matchmaking system.
How to tackle the challenge? Setting more options and allowing the players to see, if they want, what is going on. Being clearer when it comes to showing the real statistics of the players online during the previous one or in each substitution. Providing guides and online references within the interface that help understand what is happening, even through replays after matches.
The big goal: drive away the ghost of suspicion With tests and tools that definitively establish that our successes and errors correspond to our ability and not to a whim of the code of the game itself.
Crossplay between most platforms possible
Last but not least, there is one feature that EA Sports has been unnecessarily deferring: crossplay or crossplay when playing online. Being able to share games with PC, Xbox or PlayStation players in specific modes and, ultimately, creating a unified and competitive community of players. Luckily, it seems that this last aspect is one step away from becoming a reality.
EA Sports has begun to open the door to cross-play in FIFA 22 by teasing that PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and Stadia players will be able to play together. A small giant step which, without a doubt, will benefit all of us who are passionate about console football.
Will future versions of the game share the Transfer Market? Well, maybe that will be the next step, but improvising some VOLTAS from our favorite console and with our lifelong friends has never been so easy. And cloud gaming from Stadia, Xbox Cloud Gaming, and PS Plus plays heavily in the initiative’s favor.