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Will FIFA 2023 be free to play?

No, FIFA 23 will not be available as a free to play game based on the announced pricing and pre-orders. However, there will be some limited free modes. As a long-time FIFA gamer, let me walk you through what to expect in terms of pricing, features, and changes coming in FIFA 23.

Pricing for FIFA 23 Standard and Ultimate Editions

While a free version sounds great, EA Sports has already begun taking pre-orders for paid versions of FIFA 23. This confirms that the full game will not be free.

Here‘s a breakdown of the pricing on each platform:

Edition PlayStation 5 Xbox Series X/S PC
Standard Edition $69.99 $69.99 $59.99
Ultimate Edition $99.99 $99.99 $99.99

The Ultimate Edition comes with bonus FIFA points, special kits, and early access. But both will cost you.

According to EA‘s website, the Standard Edition will run you $59.99 on PC, while next-gen console versions are $10 more at $69.99. The pricier Ultimate Edition clocks in at $99.99 across all platforms.

So while not free, buying the Standard Edition can save you $40 compared to the Ultimate Edition if you don‘t care about extras.

Should you pre-order FIFA 23?

Pre-ordering does grant earlier access to the full game. You can get on the pitch 4 days before release if you pre-order the Ultimate Edition.

However, I suggest waiting to see initial reviews and gameplay changes before committing your cash. The core gameplay often changes little year-to-year.

Limited Free Modes Releasing

While the full FIFA 23 game requires payment, EA Sports is providing some free modes:

  • FIFA World Cup Mode – A free tournament mode focused on the Qatar World Cup will be available from November 11th through December 23rd according to EA‘s website. This covers the real-world tournament dates and gives fans a chance to play it virtually.
  • FIFA Mobile – A stripped down but free version of FIFA for Android and iOS. Includes Ultimate Team, leagues, events, and PVP.
  • So while you can‘t get the full FIFA 23 experience for free, there are ways to sample it without paying.

    Why FIFA Releases Every Year

    You may wonder why EA Sports releases new FIFA games annually rather than supporting one title for years like other games. There are a few business and gameplay reasons driving this:

  • Updates rosters – Transfers, promotions/relegations, player stats
  • Refreshes kits and boots
  • Adds new stadiums and leagues
  • Updates youth academy players
  • Justifies full-price as a "new" game
  • Let‘s them market new features
  • As a lifelong player, updated rosters and kits help keep the game feeling fresh each season. It feels great taking your favorite club into a new campaign with all the real-world changes.

    The development team can also focus on innovating different mechanics or modes each year to attract buyers. But the on-pitch action generally evolves incrementally between releases.

    Do you need to buy FIFA every year?

    For hardcore players that put dozens or hundreds of hours into each FIFA, buying the new version yearly is typically a must. You want access to the latest player likenesses, ratings, and teams.

    More casual players can likely get away with buying every 2-3 years if you don‘t mind outdated rosters. The core 11v11 gameplay won‘t change radically year-to-year.

    Personally, I play FIFA religiously and love seeing the new kits, players, ratings changes, and features. The $60-70 price doesn‘t feel too steep given the hundreds of hours of entertainment it provides.

    FIFA 23 Gameplay Changes

    While FIFA 23 offers new modes and cosmetic updates, you probably care most about gameplay changes. Based on the pitch notes and details from EA, here is an overview of some key changes:

    New HyperMotion2 Technology

    Using advanced match capture, HyperMotion2 enables over 6,000 new animations that make movement more realistic on next-gen consoles and Stadia. Small details like playerbalance and power passes look more natural.

    Revamped Shooting

    Active Touch System – Players adjust their stride and approach angle when receiving passes to prep shots.
    Power Shot – Finesse shots now take more skill to perfectly place.

    Changes To Pace and Defending

    Defenders can now keep up better with pacey attackers. Explosive Sprint provides quick boosts but tires players.
    Sliding tackles require better timing and positioning.

    Improved Midfield Battles

    Midfield battles feel more physical thanks to new animations and Tech. Players jostle more naturally for the ball.

    New Skill Moves

    5 new skill moves added like the lateral heel-to-heel turn, making your bag of tricks deeper.

    As a FIFA vet, these seem like smart evolutions rather than revolutions for core gameplay. But combined they should make matches even more realistic and balanced.

    FIFA 23 vs EA Sports FC Branding

    FIFA 23 will be the last FIFA-branded game from EA Sports after nearly 3 decades. Starting next year, the game will be rebranded as EA Sports FC. What does this mean?

    Why the rebranding?

    EA Sports and FIFA could not agree to new licensing terms after the current deal expires. So FIFA will license its name and assets to other games starting in 2024.

    Will EA Sports FC play the same?

    Likely yes – at its core, the gameplay and modes should carry over seamlessly into EA Sports FC based on EA‘s statements.

    They may lose some FIFA-specific branding like the World Cup tournament. But 11v11 matches should feel very familiar.

    As someone who has played since the 90s, the name change will be bittersweet. But the magic comes from the virtual pitches, not the title. I expect EA will retain most of what makes the games special.

    Is FIFA 23 Worth Buying?

    Based on the new features and updates announced, FIFA 23 appears well worth buying for dedicated players hungry for updated rosters and incremental gameplay improvements.

    If you buy FIFA religiously every year, this seems a safe purchase based on early details. The increased realism and rebalanced gameplay should provide fresh fun.

    For casual players, you can likely wait this one out if you still have 21 or 22. The core on-pitch product won‘t change radically.

    As someone who loves the series, I‘ve already got my preorder in for the Ultimate Edition. The new animations, overhauled chemistry, and World Cup mode have me excited to play on day one. And updated rosters are vital.

    For me, FIFA 23 is a consistent step forward building on a formula I already love. While not free, spending $60-100 to play hundreds of hours over a year is reasonable entertainment value.

    Free-to-Play Alternatives

    If your budget is tight but you crave digital football, there are some free-to-play alternatives coming:

  • FIFA Mobile – A mobile take on FIFA Ultimate Team.
  • UFL – An upcoming "fair to play" soccer game for console and PC from Strikerz Inc.
  • While limited compared to the full FIFA experience, these free options let you enjoy the sport without paying.

    I hope breaking down what to expect with FIFA 23 in terms of pricing, changes, and free options was helpful. Let me know if you have any other questions!