Rumor: FIFA 23 Will Be Free-To-Play, Offer Cross-Platform Matches
Last week, we learned that Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer would be renamed eFootball and go free-to-play later this year. This week brings news -- or at least a rumor -- that the same will be happening to the big dog in the soccer/football video gaming world.
As with any news from someone who goes by "Donk," take the following with a heavy grain of salt, but the self-proclaimed "FUT Trader" and "FIFA 22 news" source put out the following simple but significant tweet last week:
Free to play 🤝 Cross platform #FIFA23
— Donk | #FIFA22 (@DonkTrading) July 17, 2021
Let's tackle the simpler, second part of that first. Cross-play for FIFA? Sure, why not? Everyone else is doing it lately, and eFootball intends to do the same with its soccer franchise, so it makes sense that EA would also take that leap.
The first part is where things get a little spicy. FIFA 23 going free-to-play? Again, given eFootball's move, that would make sense, but it's worth noticing the timeline. Donk made that tweet on July 17, after rumors of PES going free-to-play surfaced but before the official announcement. It's not inconceivable that EA heard the same rumors we did and had, or is still having, internal discussions about doing the same with its soccer franchise.
Also note that Donk is talking about next year's FIFA 23, not FIFA 22, which releases on October 1, 2021 and will be a full-priced title. Again, it's possible that EA heard about Konami's plans too late to make changes to the upcoming game, instead postponing the major changes to next year. All in all, I'd put this in the "rather likely" category, but there's still enough room (and time) for EA to change its mind over the next few months -- assuming its mind has been made up already.
As some of you might wonder, though, FIFA is wildly popular, so why would EA want to risk losing box sales? It should first be pointed out that the series has had lackluster review scores lately: Metacritic rates FIFA 21 in the 70s across most platforms, with a putrid 33 on the Switch, Second, as we all know (and EA admits), the real moneymaker is FIFA Ultimate Team, or FUT. Making FIFA free-to-play means potentially more people playing FUT and buying up tons and tons of packs (where legal), so EA could very well reason that a small sacrifice in box sales is worth the potential windfall of a few million more FUT players. In truth, it's a little amazing that the company hasn't already taken this step, which seems like an obvious move now that a competitor has forced its ... uh, foot.
About the Author
Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.
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