EA CEO says blockchain gaming and NFTs are the future, discussions continue with FIFA

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EA CEO Andrew Wilson called “play-to-earn” games and NFT are the “the future of our industry,” but said, “it’s still early to figure out how that’s going to work.” He was responding to a query from Jefferies LLC during the quarterly earnings call yesterday (November 2).

I think that in the context of the games we create and the live services that we offer, collectible digital content is going to play a meaningful part in our future,” Wilson said. “So, it’s still early to tell, but I think we’re in a really good position, and we should expect us to kind of think more innovatively and creatively about that on a go-forward basis.”

EA is yet to announce an NFT and play-to-earn offerings. Play-to-earn games usually rely on a blockchain and offer players collectibles and crypto tokens in the form of winnings.

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Play-to-earn games have been attracting investor interest recently. Last month, Monkeyball, a yet-to-be-launch play-to-earn NFT game based on the Solana blockchain, raised $3 million in a seed funding round. NFT gaming platform Parallel recently raised US$50 Mn at a US$500 Mn valuation. Parallel is a sci-fi card game based on the Ethereum blockchain. Animoca Brands, a Hong Kong-based blockchain gaming, A.I., metaverse, and non-fungible token (NFT) company, announced a capital raise of US$65 million at a pre-money valuation of US$2.2 billion.

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Asked about the negotiations with the soccer governing body regarding the FIFA game, Wilson said, “they (fans) want more modalities at play inside the game, which go beyond just straight 11 on 11 football. They want more digital experiences outside the game, esports, NFTs broader sports consumption and they want us to move really, really quickly. And so I would tell you, as we think about the future of football, we think it’s very bright. We’re going to work with our global collection of partners that we feel best enable us to do that. And we’ll continue our conversations with each and every one of them to the extent that they’re aligned with that objective.”

Earlier, news reports pointed that EA is seeking broader rights from FIFA to cover NFTs and digital collectables which the soccer governing body is reluctant to offer on an exclusive basis. The response from Andrew appears to confirm this understanding. FIFA is also expecting a higher price than what is currently on the table.

In a blog post released last month, FIFA said it will adopt a new commercial positioning in gaming and eSports to ensure that it is best placed to make decisions that benefit all football stakeholders. “The relationship and affinity that the gaming and eSports market has developed over time with the FIFA name clearly underscore that football-based gaming and the FIFA name are intrinsically intertwined,” it said.