Gamers around the globe pick their favorite players, assemble their dream team, and play FIFA– based games every year. Electronic Arts announced in May 2013 that it inked a licensing deal with the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) that would extend through Dec. 31, 2022. It’s a $4.6 billion industry, yet EA and FIFA are still seeking ways to further commercialize one of the company’s biggest money makers.
Each game that EA sells brings in approximately $121. It begins with the initial purchase of the title and expands with the sale of in-game services. It’s a financially lucrative model for video game companies that can become even more profitable with strategies that have been contemplated for several years.
One of the most obvious ways to further monetize the FIFA franchise is through in-game advertising, a practice that’s already been employed, but is more subtle in nature than other franchises. The ads are presented in a more subconscious manner, such as digital banners, that doesn’t interrupt gameplay. The ads are integrated in such a way as to feel like a normal part of the game.
However, many brands feel that the technique may be too subtle and not engaging enough. To counteract that, global brands are working closely with video game companies to produce the next generation of monetization through “Advergaming.” It’s a technique that advertises products associated with a specific game.
One of the most successful advergaming campaigns was LEGO games that worked in conjunction with brands ranging from Marvel to Star Wars to advertise both brands at the same time within the same ad. Fortnite did it with Marvel and Nintendo did it with Mario Kart 8 and Mercedes-Benz.
Popularity in the FIFA franchise isn’t abating and is attracting a new crop of devotees every year. It’s imperative from the perspective of EA and FIFA to cash in and find new and innovative ways to increase profits. One of those ways is with esports tournaments that have proven extremely popular and lucrative for everyone involved, from EA and FIFA, to players and advertisers.
Micro-transactions within games have come under close scrutinization, but there’s no sign that it will be curbed anytime in the near future. The Coco-Cola Cup in 2018 further blurred lines when it utilized Alex Hunter as a social media influencer as part of in-game and real-world advertising.
FIFA is eyeing new ways to merge esports versions with competitions in the real-world to provide a more personally-engaging and immersive experience for the game’s enthusiasts. FIFA fans are legion and continue to grow in number each year. It’s only a matter of time before new ways of connecting with the followers of tomorrow that can’t even be imagined today.