There were hints in October last year, but now it's official. EA Sports are ditching the FIFA licence from their ball kicking series, with the game due for release later this year the last to bear to use the FIFA name. From 2023 onwards, the series will be called EA Sports FC.
Since the last licensing agreement between EA and FIFA was signed, the series has grown into a microtransaction juggernaut that earns billions of dollars per year. Reports suggested FIFA wanted a larger piece of that pie, with EA reluctant to give it to them - and perhaps reluctant to be associated with an organisation that has frequently been mired in scandal.
EA's FIFA games have themselves been criticised due to their heavy use of loot boxes, particularly in Ultimate Team mode. Various European governments have flip-flopped whether these constitute gambling, with a Dutch court overturning a previous ruling and deciding they're not in March. In response to criticism, EA have made changes to Ultimate Team to let you peek inside the loot boxes before you buy them.
No longer having the FIFA license doesn't necessarily impact the content of the game that much, as its accurate teams, leagues and players are licensed separately, and often directly from the source. It will restrict the ability to represent tournaments that FIFA themselves organise, such as the World Cup. The UEFA tournaments such as the Champions League and Europa League, as well as national leagues such as the Premier League, Bundsliga, La Liga and Serie A will all remain in the game.
EA Sports FC is an existing brand, as EA have employed it since 2012 to refer to the online social experience that wraps around the FIFA games.
The press release announcing decision says that the final FIFA game due this year, presumably called FIFA 23, will include "more game modes, features, teams, leagues, players, and competitions than any previous edition."