It Is June 2023 And EA Wants To Add NFTs To FIFA & Madden

Nike boots

EA Sports and Nike announced yesterday that, at some point in the “future”, games like FIFA and Madden will feature integration with .Swoosh, which Nike describes as its “new digital community experience”.

What does that even mean? It’s an NFT (non-fungible token) platform, a crypto-adjacent scam that blew up in 2021 then crashed hard in 2022, a rise-and-fall that is perhaps best illustrated with this graphic:

NFTs fuckin suck yo

Despite this, and a wider public reaction to the concept that landed somewhere between ambivalence and condemnation, there are still some companies willing to stick it out. Partly because they’ve got one eye on the future, and also maybe because they signed a bunch of contracts in 2021 and now have to see them through.

This deal in particular is described as:

Nike Virtual Studios and EA SPORTS are today announcing a new partnership aimed at enhancing and personalizing the virtual sports experience for fans all over the world. This collaboration brings together two of the biggest names in sport and entertainment and will lead to all new ways for members of .SWOOSH, Nike’s new digital community experience, and EA SPORTS fans to express their personal style through play.

What’s funniest about the announcement, perhaps, is that even Nike and EA are embarrassed by (or intentionally obfuscating, you pick!) the truth, which is why you won’t find mention of the term NFT in the news, or even a reference to Web3. Instead EA simply says the partnership will make “.SWOOSH virtual creations available allowing members and players unique new opportunities for self-expression and creativity through sport and style.”

EA Sports games offer that already, of course, sometimes in the form of free unlocks, others that you have to pay for using in-game (or real-world) currency.

Madden NFL 24 Comes With A Kansas City Easter Egg

Patrick Mahomes sticks his tongue out through his teeth during practice.

Photo: Cooper Neill (Getty Images)

Soon-to-be-released football simulation game Madden NFL 24 made sure to retain a very important detail on Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes: his tongue. That’s what she said, or whatever.

Like his dad, former professional baseball player Pat Mahomes, Mahomes Jr. has become known for poking his tongue through his teeth and out the corner of his mouth while throwing, running, and all-around playing ball. NFL 24 apparently keeps Mahomes’ character model accurate by having it do the same tongue stuff, screenshots Operation Sports founder Steve Noah posted to Twitter indicate.

Yep, that pink ounce of Frostbite engine flesh looks like Mahomes’ tongue to me. I would know—one of the, approximately, four-and-a-half times I’ve ever watched American football, I noticed Mahomes’ habit and asked my boyfriend, “Ew, what’s he doing with his tongue?” He unhelpfully replied, “That’s just what he does with his tongue.”

More usefully, Science posited earlier this year that “tongue protrusions may improve the accuracy of [Mahomes’] hand movements.” You might know, anecdotally, that amphibians like salamanders send their tongues flying toward prey, but studies have indicated that mammals like mice also jab out their tongues when readying to grab a tasty snack with their paws. Researchers wonder if humans’ dexterity is likewise linked to their squishy mouth muscles.

“I think it is the center of our being, as crazy as that might seem,” University of Lethbridge neuroscientist Ian Whishaw told Science about the tongue.

I’m sure that Madden developer EA Sports took all of this into careful consideration when adapting Mahomes to its video game. In any case, you can see more of the center of Mahomes’ being when NFL 24 officially releases on PC and console on August 18 (its Early Access period is already underway).