PlayStation Passed on the Opportunity to Steal FIFA From EA

EA Offered FIFA License to PlayStation, But They Declined

A former executive from Electronic Arts (EA) has recently disclosed that PlayStation had the chance to secure the highly coveted FIFA license in 1997, but surprisingly turned it down. This revelation sheds light on an intriguing exchange between Sony and FIFA, ultimately leading to EA’s remarkable success with one of the most popular video game franchises in history.

Untangling the Complex Web: EA, FIFA, and PlayStation

Tom Stone, who served as EA’s vice president of European marketing in the late 90s, revealed in an interview with TimeExtension that the licensing company for FIFA, International Sports and Leisure (ISL), secretly approached PlayStation’s European leadership without involving EA. It was Chris Deering, the European president of PlayStation at the time, who decided to inform Stone about this unexpected offer.

In recalling their conversation, Stone shared, “‘We’ve been offered the rights to FIFA Soccer,'” Deering informed him. Stone was shocked and responded incredulously, saying, “‘You have got to be effing joking. Seriously? ISL has approached you and asked if you would like an exclusive worldwide license for FIFA? After everything we’ve done for them?'” However, Deering assured Stone that he would not commit to any deal unless negotiations between EA and ISL fell through.

EA exclusively held the FIFA license for an impressive 25 years until 2022, when the partnership came to an end. Moving forward, EA will continue developing soccer games under the EA Sports FC brand. As for who will secure the lucrative FIFA license, that remains unknown for now.