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FIFA, EA Sports to end longtime video game partnership

May 10 (UPI) -- Electronic Arts will stop producing its widely popular FIFA soccer game under its current name after the video game giant and the global governing body of the sport failed to agree on a new licensing deal.

The California-based company announced Tuesday that its renamed soccer game, EA Sports FC, will be introduced beginning in 2023 after the release of the final game from its partnership with FIFA later this year.

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EA and its subsidiary EA Sports have been making FIFA games for nearly three decades, and the licensing rights for the video game earn FIFA about $150 million annually -- the biggest commercial earner in its expected $7 billion total revenue from 2019-22.

"We're thankful for our many years of great partnership with FIFA," EA CEO Andrew Wilson said in a statement. "The future of global football is very bright, and fandom around the world has never been stronger."

In response to EA's announcement, FIFA defiantly promised a "number of new non-simulation games [that] are already under production" and will launch ahead of the 2022 World Cup that kicks off in November in Qatar.

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FIFA noted that it plans to establish a "new gaming model" and cited the recent creation of its streaming service FIFA+.

"I can assure you that the only authentic, real game that has the FIFA name will be the best one available for gamers and football fans," FIFA President Gianni Infantino said in a separate statement.

Though the new EA Sports FC title will be unable to include FIFA branding and related content, including the World Cup, it retains licensing deals with major soccer competitions -- including the English Premier League and the UEFA-organized Champions League.

EA also has strong partnerships with Spain's La Liga and Germany's Bundesliga, among other leagues and organizations, which will allow the iconic franchise to keep most of the team and player likenesses intact.

EA Sports also makes multiple other popular sports video game franchises, including Madden (American football), NHL (ice hockey) and PGA Tour (golf).

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