EA FC 24 is set to be released on September 29th, 2023, marking the end of a 30-year relationship between Electronic Arts and FIFA.
FIFA video games have been the go-to simulation football game for decades, and while the games have been consistently enjoyed by a broad audience, they haven’t been without controversy.
One of these controversies led to the creation of a recurring meme, initiated by another large company in the video game world. This ongoing joke ran for years, continually mocking shady business practices by EA.
For background, FIFA games have been released every year for 30 years on whatever consoles and platforms are currently active. The ones for the past few years have been PlayStation 4/5, Xbox One and Series S/X, PC and Nintendo Switch. While every annual release isn’t always a complete overhaul, there are enough changes to the formula for better or for worse.
However, this isn’t the case for the Nintendo Switch version of FIFA, starting with FIFA 18. While other versions of the game run on EA’s Frostbite engine, the Switch version runs on a separate engine to accommodate the Switch’s weaker specs.
In a nutshell that isn’t too bad, right? The problem is that while other consoles would continue to get new and improved versions of FIFA every year, EA just…stopped updating the Switch version. They would basically update the rosters, player ratings and kits, maybe add some new teams, slap the new year on the cover and release it as a “Legacy Edition” which was nothing more than a glorified update patch.
This isn’t the first time EA Sports has used this approach either; all four of the FIFA games for the PlayStation Vita used the same engine with none of the updates that their console counterparts got. It was just updated rosters and kits with no gameplay changes at all.
In short: Every FIFA game on the Switch from 2018-2023 is just FIFA 18 with updated rosters and jerseys, with a $40 USD price tag slapped on it.
This stunt didn’t go over well with the gaming community, and Switch players were justifiably upset. But perhaps the best responses came from the video game news outlets; specifically, IGN.
IGN had the same reviewer (Simon Cardy) for every FIFA release on Nintendo Switch. After it became clear that each FIFA game was a copy and paste of the 2018 version, Cardy and IGN began reviewing these games with the same amount of effort that EA put into making. The end result was a legendary meme:
On top of this hilariously appropriate way to review a game that was essentially copy and pasted itself, for each year after that, IGN gave every FIFA Switch release the same score (2 out of 10) and basically rehashed their review every year, warning users to stay away. Cardy didn’t always copy and paste the reviews verbatim since, in his words, “but unlike some of the folks at EA I don’t take much satisfaction in reusing material.”
With EA FC 24 confirmed to be using the Frostbite engine, we likely won’t see the annual lambasting of FIFA for Switch. At the very least, these games and IGN’s handling of them gave us a good laugh.