Despite FIFA releases being a concrete annual event, there are many factors that could see the upcoming FIFA 21 hit with a delay. We take a look at everything that could affect the next installment in EA Sports' most popular title.
Of the last five FIFA games, all have been released between September 22 and 29. All indications point to a release date of September 25, 2020, provided this does not come unstuck.
While it has become a staple of the FIFA series, the release of FIFA 21 could be under threat because of a number of factors.
This remains largely speculative for now, but we will update you on news of FIFA 21's release as it becomes available, and the cloud of uncertainty that surrounds the title begins to clear.
Delay of Football & FIFA 21
The ongoing global situation has cast doubt on the remainder of European football. Despite there being 10 or so games left in Europe's major leagues, they have all been suspended as a result of the pandemic.
While real sport has a limited impact on FIFA titles, their September release date means they launch around a month after European transfer windows slam shut. With the EUROs being delayed until the summer of 2021 to allow a finish to domestic competitions, it seems impossible to think that the summer transfer windows will not run beyond their usual August deadlines.
The Premier League, for example, has suspended all football until at least April 30. This means the season is all but guaranteed to finish beyond the normal mid-May endpoint. Hence, this will force transfer windows to be pushed back to give players their typical summer breaks.
While it's still possible that FIFA will release before the transfer window has completed, the updated kits, teams and staff are a staple of every new version.
Hence, it seems that any FIFA delay will be at the mercy of world football's scheduling, and might not be released until transfer windows and this ongoing season reach their conclusions.
Will next-gen consoles affect FIFA 21's release?
In short, probably. Here, we have to go off the back of the release of FIFA 14, which came just weeks before the launch of the PS4 and Xbox One. EA released the PS3/Xbox 360 versions of FIFA 14 as normal, before adding a 'next-gen' version when the consoles themselves dropped.
We can, therefore, expect something similar to happen this year. It's likely FIFA 21 will launch for PS4 and Xbox One, before a next-gen version is released alongside the consoles themselves.
However, with the global pandemic meaning large portions of office staff cannot carry out their jobs properly, there is a very real risk that both the PS5 and Xbox One X will see some kind of delay too.
On the back of this, the current-gen version of FIFA 21 would likely release as soon as possible (depending on the aforementioned footballing delays), with a next-gen version released alongside the consoles. Given the severity of the global situation at the moment, it's a very real possibility that this will not be until early 2021.
What have EA said about FIFA 21's release?
Essentially, not a lot. It's fair to assume they're waiting to see how world football pans out before making any major decisions. There is plenty they can crack on with in terms of game mechanics and new modes.
We will continue to update this story as and when updates are available.