EA Sports FC 24: How women are changing the game as FIFA franchise gets historic rebrand
For the first time since it debuted in 1993, developer EA Sports has ditched the FIFA branding and gone with EA Sports FC. It coincides with a major change to the game’s most popular mode, one which reflects the growing diversity of the real sport.
By Tom Acres, technology reporter
Friday 22 September 2023 14:41, UK
FIFA’s historic rebrand
For the first time since it debuted in 1993, developer EA Sports has ditched the FIFA branding – a name millions associate more with gaming than football’s governing body – and gone with EA Sports FC.
Forget Twitter becoming X, this may well be the year’s biggest rebrand.
We should certainly all spare a thought for those poor shop assistants left to explain to the confused mums, dads, and grandparents why “the FIFA game” isn’t visible on shelves next week.
‘Most inclusive’ game to date
But never mind the new name, an even bigger change is coming to the game itself, as football’s biggest female stars join their male counterparts in Ultimate Team.
It has long been the series’ most popular, and lucrative, mode.
It allows players to build their dream squads using trading card-like mystery packs, before taking them online to compete against the world.
And this year that dream could include Lionesses captain Leah Williamson playing in a centre-back pairing with Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk; a strike force of France goal machine Kylian Mbappe and Australian forward Sam Kerr; or Mary Earps saving penalties from Erling Haaland.
EA Sports’s Andrea Hopelain says it makes this year’s game “the most inclusive and diverse” to date.
‘People want to play as their heroes’
Female stars have been in FIFA since 2015 but have only ever felt like a token gesture, restricted to minor modes players overwhelmingly don’t bother with.
As EA Sports pursues an even bigger marketing campaign than usual to promote its rebrand, Manley says it’s “the perfect time” to put women front and centre.
“After the World Cup and the Euros, there are a lot more females wanting to play the game,” she says.
“Women’s football has more people watching now – men, women, children. I started playing FIFA because of football and it goes hand in hand.
“People want to play as their role models and their heroes.”
Of course, the gaming community can be home to more man babies than most, and a quick YouTube trawl exposes many such “fans” criticising the decision.