FIFA 21 — The Pros and Cons of EA’s Continued Exclusivity Deal with UEFA

FIFA 21 and EA Sports will continue to be the home of the UEFA Champions League as part of a new deal. But is that a good thing for customers?

Today, EA Sports and UEFA announced that they are continuing the partnership that brings the Champions League, Europa League, and UEFA Super Cup exclusively to FIFA 21 and future FIFA titles. The deal has been in place for several years now after EA took the license from Konami’s PES titles. It means that the only place to experience the “pinnacle of club football” in the digital format is in FIFA. But is this a good thing for the customer or just for EA? Let’s look at some pros and cons of the continued deal.

Pro: New, Interesting Content in FIFA 21 Ultimate Team

For most people, this is probably the big one. So far, EA has only really used the UEFA license to put in Road to the Final and Team of the Tournament cards into FUT. That said, those RTTF cards are some of the most popular in the game because they’re live. That means that each time that player’s real-world team advances, the player gets an upgrade.

However, there is so much more EA could be doing with the license here. For example, weekly Friendly tournaments centered around Champions League matches could be a blast. Or more objectives that focus on the UEFA matches. Either way, this is a content goldmine that could give players even more to do.

Con: Lack of Competition

One of the reasons many players prefer FIFA to PES is that PES doesn’t have nearly as many licenses. This means the teams have weird names, kits, and badges. So, you’re playing with what feels like a knockoff team. Now, intrepid fans have added those in via downloadable files, but you can’t replicate the pageantry FIFA 21 career mode players get when they enter the Champions League final.

For many players, that will completely turn them off of PES. It won’t matter if the game is technically “better” if they can’t play as their favorite teams in the biggest competitions. And without competition, EA Sports will feel less pressure to improve the product.

Pro: More Players in More Places

In the press release, EA talked about how this move allows them to bring the game to more people. Currently, the company has a free-to-download version of FIFA called FIFA Online 4. This version of the game is widely played in Asia now, but this move helps EA bring it to more countries. So, while not a direct benefit to those of us playing FIFA 21, this deal helps get a version of the game in more players’ hands.

Con: Less Money for Better FIFA 21 Servers

This is the big one for most FIFA fans. Currently, the game’s servers are almost unacceptable. Given the amount of revenue Ultimate Team generates, you would assume they’d put more of that money into getting the online experience as smooth as possible. After all, a happy customer is more willing to spend money than an unsatisfied one.

However, EA seems content to splash the cash on acquiring licenses and signing players like David Beckham to be in the game. Obviously, it’s working for them in terms of revenue generated, but an increasingly dissatisfied customer base is not a good thing.

So what do you think? Is this going to be a benefit to fans or just EA’s pocketbook? Let us know in the comments below. FIFA 21 is available now on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X. For the foreseeable future, it’ll be the only video game making use of the UEFA license.

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