FIFA, the most popular soccer game franchise in history, could have been a PlayStation exclusive
The arrival of EA FC 24 is a landmark moment in gaming history. It marks EA's inaugural venture into the soccer simulation genre after the dissolution of its partnership with FIFA a year ago. This eagerly anticipated release not only introduces a brand-new football gaming experience but also symbolizes the conclusion of an illustrious era in EA's gaming heritage – the FIFA video game series, celebrated for its thrilling virtual soccer action.
Photo Credit: EA Sports
Despite the well-known criticism surrounding the FIFA series for its formulaic nature across its various iterations, it maintains its stronghold on the video game charts.
In the six months since its launch, EA SPORTS FIFA 23 has surpassed the lifetime sales of FIFA 22!
— FIFAUTeam (@FIFAUTeam) May 10, 2023
Recently, it has come to light that a highly profitable and beloved series was potentially on the brink of becoming an exclusive title for the Sony PlayStation.
How FIFA Nearly Became a PlayStation Exclusive
During a recent conversation with TimeExtension, Tom Stone, the former Vice President of EA Europe, shared an intriguing tale that could have been one of the most significant chapters in the history of the gaming industry. According to Stone, in 1997, an unexpected opportunity surfaced when Sony was quietly offered the rights to FIFA, all without EA’s knowledge.
PlayStation, however, surprisingly turned down the offer to honor its relationship with EA.
FIFA offered Sony exclusive worldwide rights to the FIFA brand in 1997, but Sony refused
At the time, PlayStation Europe president Chris Deering told EA “That’s your deal. You created FIFA.”
— Hunter 🎮 (@NextGenPlayer) October 7, 2023
Stone disclosed that in 1997, Sony had an opportunity to obtain the FIFA license for its soccer series, which would have taken away the FIFA label from EA and made the game a PlayStation exclusive.
“Chris Deering [then-president of Sony PlayStation Europe] met with me and said, ‘We've been offered the rights to FIFA Soccer',” Stone told TimeExtension. “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?' I was really cross.
“But Chris said to me, ‘I will not sign that deal unless you can't come to terms with FIFA. That's your deal. You created that.' Obviously, Chris was looking ‘big picture' at the support that EA gave to PlayStation worldwide. I think that would have been an interesting conversation had Sony signed that deal, though. I think EA would have responded quite badly to that.”