EA has suddenly removed downloadable versions of FIFA 23 from multiple digital storefronts. The delisting comes earlier than expected for the title and coincides with the company’s launch of the newly FIFA-license-free EA Sports FC 24.
While many reports suggest there has been a recent mass purge of all legacy FIFA games from online stores, EA has a history of delisting older sports titles at a pretty regular cadence. FIFA 22, for instance, was delisted from digital storefronts in May, roughly seven months after the launch of the subsequent FIFA 23. And FIFA 21 wasn’t taken down from Steam until June 2022, about eight months after FIFA 22‘s launch.
FIFA 23, on the other hand, has been delisted less than a year from its October 2022 launch. SteamDB tracking data suggests that the delisting came on September 21, the day before the new EA Sports FC became available for a 10-hour early access trial for EA Play members. The Steam store page for FIFA 23 now notes that the delisting comes “at the request of the publisher” and that the game “will not appear in search.” The game also no longer appears on Steam’s EA publisher page.
FIFA 23‘s earlier-than-expected delisting could have something to do with the dissolution of EA’s 30-year licensing relationship with FIFA. That ending came amid reports that EA was dissatisfied with gameplay restrictions and licensing costs demanded by FIFA. FIFA has committed to launching a new EA-free line of officially branded soccer games in 2024, though little has been heard about those efforts since their 2022 announcement.
Easy come, easy go
While FIFA 23 is no longer available for purchase as a download, it is newly available to EA Play subscribers through “The Play List” collection of what EA calls “best loved games.” But even this program doesn’t guarantee long-term access to legacy sports titles; FIFA 14 was removed from what was then called the EA Access Vault back in 2017, for instance, while FIFA 15 through 18 were removed with little notice in 2021. FIFA 19 and 20 were similarly removed from “The Play List” in 2022, and FIFA 21 was taken away from subscribers in May this year.
The churning cycle of availability for legacy sports content isn’t that surprising or impactful, as many players update to a new version of their favorite sports game franchises every year anyway. But it continues a long history of EA shutting down online services and removing legacy games from online sale, often many years after their commercial heyday. EA will continue that tradition later this year, as it has also announced plans to shutter online services for FIFA 18 through FIFA 21 on November 6.
The company isn’t always stingy with access to its older content, though. In 2014, EA temporarily offered free downloads of The Sims 2 Ultimate just before it ceased support for the title ahead of The Sims 4 launch. And last year, it made a wide swath of DLC for BioWare games free as it shut down the legacy “BioWare points” system originally used to sell them.