Kylian Mbappe EA Sports Screen grab: EA Sports FIFA 23 trailer

On Friday, EA Sports will release the latest edition of its popular soccer video game franchise, EA Sports FC 24.

But gamers hoping to get an older — and discounted — version of the series formally known as FIFA might have a harder time doing so than expected.

According to the gaming website Kotaku, EA Sports has pulled all old versions of the FIFA series — including the most recent, FIFA 23 — from digital storefronts such as the online shops for the PS5, Xbox, Switch and Steam consoles. A notice on Steam’s online store reads: “At the request of the publisher, EA SPORTS™ FIFA 23 is unlisted on the Steam store and will not appear in search.”

While it remains unclear why EA Sports has pulled the old versions of the games, it’s likely not a coincidence that it happened just days before EA Sports FC 24‘s highly anticipated release on Friday. With digital downloads accounting for roughly 90 percent of video game sales in 2022 according to Game Byte, anyone who wants to buy a soccer game is essentially now forced to purchase the latest version or track down a hard copy of an older edition.

It was perhaps only a matter of time before a video game publisher employed such a strategy, especially with more sports games releasing on an annual basis and sometimes providing little more than a roster update from the previous version. With popular systems like PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X now three years removed from their initial releases, gamers have already become accustomed to the technological advances and thus have less incentive to be excited about new editions of a series 12 months removed from its last release.

To that end, a review of EA Sports FC 24 on refers to it as “business as usual.”

“There are improvements, and there are problems – business as usual,” the review reads. “The era of EA Sports’ FIFA may be over, but the game goes on.”

It’s also possible that EA Sports is simply trying to avoid confusion. With the FIFA name having become synonymous with the series over the course of three decades, it would be understandable for the publisher to want to avoid pitting that brand name against the first release of its rebrand of the franchise.

Either way, the soccer series has been incredibly profitable for EA Sports, with FIFA 23 marking the most successful launch in the franchise’s history. While the name change — which comes as the result of EA abandoning the FIFA license amid negotiations — could cause some hiccups, one would imagine that trend will continue.

And perhaps the publisher’s decision to pull old versions of the game is an attempt to ensure just that.


About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.