After years in the wilderness, Juventus fans will no longer have to make do with playing as a generic version of their team when FIFA 23 is released later this year.
The Serie A giants will return for the next instalment of EA Sports’ game franchise complete with their badge, kit, stadium and all of their players present and correct.
Juve had spent three years in the FIFA wilderness due to an exclusive licensing contract they had agreed with Konami, makers of the rival eFootball game franchise.
In their place, the FIFA game featured a club that was strikingly similar (but crucially, just different enough) by the name of “Piemonte Calcio.” That “club” takes its name from the Italian region in the north-west of the country in which Juve’s home city of Turin is located.
The Konami contract also prevented Juventus appearing in other games. For example, in the Football Manager franchise, they are known as “Zebre” after their iconic black-and-white stripes.
However, when FIFA 23 is released on Sept. 30 this year, gamers will be able to players as Juve stars such as Dusan Vlahovic, Federico Chiesa and Weston McKennie, as well as summer signings Paul Pogba and Angel Di Maria.
Next year will see an even bigger change in the game, as EA Sports will stop making it in its current name, marking a split in one of soccer’s most successful and lucrative partnerships after the sides failed to strike a new licensing deal. Instead, EA Sports FC will be introduced from 2023.
Licensing rights for the game earn FIFA about $150 million annually — the single biggest commercial earner in its expected $7 billion total revenue from 2019-2022.
EA has been producing a FIFA game for nearly 30 years and its fond association with tens of millions of gamers globally helped the image of world football’s governing body when it was tarnished amid a wave of arrests of soccer officials in 2015.
Though EA Sports FC will be unable to include FIFA content including the World Cup, it retains licensing deals with prime soccer competitions including the Premier League and the UEFA Champions League.