FIFA 23 slammed by PC players as EA's own anti-cheat makes it unplayable for many

A footballer holds their head in their hands after hearing about eFootball's update delay.
(Image credit: Piranka via Getty Images)

The last entry in one of gaming's great historical partnerships has been released and, let me tell you, the manager won't be happy with how EA has set their stall out early doors. FIFA 23 is unplayable for a considerable amount of the playerbase thanks to a malfunction with EA's own anti-cheat software, which is failing to properly verify itself and thus refusing to launch the game.

Some players are reporting conflicts with other anti-cheat or DRM software on their PCs, while plenty of others have expressed their frustration through the game's now 'mostly negative' Steam reviews. It is impossible to say how widespread this is, though a minority of players seem able to access the title, and it has also affected PC Gamer's reviewer (our review of FIFA 23 is thus delayed until the writer can, y'know, play a bit of it).

"FIFA 23 is not a sports game, it's a simulator," writes Colonel Clam in their Steam review. "A simulator for troubleshooting why the game won't launch." Rmgerro drily observes that "I guess the anticheat is working, because if you can't play the game you can't cheat."

Developer and publisher EA has issued a holding statement acknowledging the issues and promising a fix:

"We are aware of the issues some PC players have experienced when launching FIFA 23, which are largely related to EA anticheat software. We are actively working on a fix. We see and understand our PC community’s frustration, and we apologize."

EA goes on to reference the expansion of cross-play support in FIFA 23: PC players are supposed to be able to play with console owners (PS5 and Xbox S/X) as well as those on Stadia (well, until January at least). The company also says that "many players who have encountered errors have been able to play after using one of our help solutions" though it seems fair to add that many players have found that the help solutions do not in fact help. Nevertheless here is EA's help page.

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"We are working to correct all issues as soon as possible," says the publisher. Not quite the grand old send off that fans were expecting then, not yet at least. In the above video EA's FIFA CM Shelden Rogers mainly repeats the existing statement, though he does add that one of the immediate improvements the devs are looking to implement is "updated error messaging to help better inform players of the issues in question and troubleshooting steps, and we're also looking at addressing other stability issues for FIFA 23 on PC."

There's no ETA on a fix. In the meantime, you're probably best-served to give this entry a bit of a hip-swerve for now. Anti-cheat is obviously a necessity for any contemporary competitive experience, especially one on the scale of FIFA, but when it's stopping the game functioning for most players that's clearly an own goal. There are definitely a handful of players who seem able to access the title regardless but, for the moment at least, FIFA 23 is very far from the beautiful game.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."