Electronic Arts (EA) has made a surprising move by removing all older FIFA games from digital storefronts ahead of the launch of EA Sports FC 24. This decision affects PlayStation 5, Xbox, Switch, Steam, and Epic Games platforms. While some downloadable content (DLC) packs for these games are still available, the base games have been taken down or do not offer a purchase option.
This move was first observed by industry analyst MauroNL and appears to be related to EA’s rebranding of the FIFA series to EA Sports FC 24 after abandoning the FIFA license amid ongoing renewal negotiations.
The removal of these older FIFA titles raises questions about whether they will return in a different form or if their removal is permanent. EA has not provided an official statement regarding this decision.
FIFA games are known for their annual releases with updated rosters but minimal changes to gameplay modes and mechanics. EA Sports FC 24, set to release on September 29, has received mixed reviews. Some reviewers have praised improvements to the Ultimate Team mode, which features loot boxes where players collect cards to build powerful teams. EA has enhanced the mode’s on-field experience, introduced an “Evolution” feature for leveling up player skills, and integrated star female players into the mode.
Ultimate Team is a major revenue source for EA, generating more income from microtransactions than the sale of the new FIFA games themselves. Despite this, EA chose not to renew the FIFA brand license, reportedly due to the International Football Federation’s steep demands for a $1 billion renewal fee.
The removal of older FIFA titles from digital stores may be part of EA’s strategy to promote its rebranded EA Sports FC series and encourage players to upgrade to the latest installment. However, it remains to be seen how this decision will affect fans of older FIFA games and whether they will eventually have access to these titles again.
It’s worth noting that this move by EA to remove older FIFA games from digital storefronts is a significant shift in the gaming industry, particularly for a franchise known for its annual releases. FIFA games have traditionally maintained a presence on digital platforms, allowing players to purchase and enjoy older iterations of the series.
The decision to remove these games coincides with EA’s transition to EA Sports FC 24, which represents a rebranding effort and, potentially, a strategic move to distance the series from the FIFA license. The ongoing renewal negotiations with the International Football Federation may have influenced this decision, as EA opted not to pay the reported $1 billion renewal fee.
While the removal of older FIFA titles could encourage players to migrate to the latest installment, it also raises questions about the preservation of gaming history. Digital storefronts have become essential platforms for accessing and playing classic games. Removing older titles may limit players’ ability to revisit and enjoy past FIFA experiences, impacting both nostalgia and accessibility.