PlayStation had the Chance to Steal FIFA from EA in the 90s but Passed
A former Electronic Arts (EA) executive has revealed that PlayStation was once offered the opportunity to snag the FIFA license but declined. The exchange between Sony and FIFA took place in 1997, following which EA went on to make one of the best-selling video game franchises in history.
What Happened between EA, FIFA, and PlayStation?
Tom Stone — EA’s vice president of European marketing in the late 90s — told TimeExtension that the company responsible for licensing FIFA (ISL) reached out to PlayStation’s European leadership behind EA’s back. Chris Deering was serving as PlayStation’s European president at the time and decided to tell Stone about the offer.
“‘We’ve been offered the rights to FIFA Soccer,’” Stone recalled Deering telling him. “I said, ‘You have got to be effing joking. Seriously? ISL has approached you and asked if you would like an exclusive worldwide license for FIFA? After everything we’ve done for them?’” Deering then reassured Stone that he won’t be signing any deal unless talks between EA and ISL fell through.
- EA exclusively held the FIFA license for 25 years until 2022, when the companies split.
- EA will continue to make soccer games under the EA Sports FC label.
- Who will get the FIFA license is not known at present.
This revelation sheds light on the intriguing history behind the FIFA licensing deal and how PlayStation had the opportunity to secure it for themselves. Let’s explore this pivotal moment and its implications for both EA and PlayStation.
The FIFA Licensing Deal: A Game-Changing Opportunity
The FIFA video game franchise has become a juggernaut in the gaming industry. It continues to attract millions of players worldwide, generating significant revenue for EA. However, back in 1997, the future of FIFA’s licensing was uncertain, opening the door for PlayStation to potentially change the course of gaming history.
ISL, the company responsible for licensing FIFA at the time, approached PlayStation’s European leadership, trying to strike a deal behind EA’s back. This move would have given PlayStation an exclusive worldwide license for FIFA, an unprecedented opportunity that undoubtedly caught the attention of Sony’s top executives.
Tom Stone, EA’s vice president of European marketing, recounted his shock upon learning about the offer from PlayStation’s European president, Chris Deering. Stone’s disbelief reflects EA’s substantial investments in the FIFA franchise and their pivotal role in its success.
While PlayStation had the chance to make FIFA their exclusive game, Deering assured Stone that he wouldn’t proceed with any deal unless EA’s negotiations with ISL fell through. Ultimately, PlayStation chose not to pursue the FIFA license, leading to one of the most lucrative partnerships in gaming history between EA and FIFA.
EA’s Exclusive FIFA License: A Quarter Century of Dominance
Following the missed opportunity for PlayStation, EA went on to secure the exclusive worldwide license for FIFA. This monumental agreement allowed EA to develop and publish FIFA video games without any direct competition until 2022.
For 25 years, EA’s FIFA series reigned supreme, captivating soccer fans and gamers alike. The franchise experienced tremendous growth, becoming one of the most successful video game franchises globally. The exclusive FIFA license solidified EA’s dominance in the sports gaming genre and cemented their position as a major player in the gaming industry.
During this 25-year period, EA continuously evolved the FIFA series, introducing cutting-edge graphics, realistic gameplay, and innovative features that immersed players in the world of virtual soccer. The franchise’s popularity soared, with each annual release eagerly anticipated by fans across the globe.
The Future of FIFA and EA
However, all good things must come to an end. In 2022, EA and FIFA decided to part ways, thus concluding their long and prosperous partnership. The split left soccer gaming enthusiasts curious about the future of the FIFA video game franchise.
EA’s decision to continue making soccer games under the EA Sports FC label suggests that the company intends to maintain its presence in the genre. Although the exact details of the future licensing agreement remain undisclosed, fans can expect EA to capitalize on their extensive experience and resources to deliver exceptional soccer gaming experiences.
As for who will obtain the FIFA license next, it remains uncertain. This opens up opportunities for other gaming studios to enter the field and potentially challenge EA’s dominance. The race to secure the highly coveted FIFA license will undoubtedly generate interest and excitement among both players and developers alike.
The revelation that PlayStation was once offered the opportunity to acquire the FIFA license sheds light on a pivotal moment in gaming history. The decision by PlayStation’s European leadership not to proceed with the deal allowed EA to secure the exclusive license, paving the way for the creation of one of the most successful video game franchises ever.
As the future of the FIFA license remains uncertain, fans eagerly anticipate the next chapter in soccer gaming. With EA continuing to develop soccer games under the EA Sports FC label, players can expect innovative experiences that will push the boundaries of virtual soccer even further.