Lee Davys writes a little ditty about the money sucking game FIFA16, his view on why it needs to incorporate a competitive team mode to increase it’s status as a competitive eSports behemoth, and a look at the introduction of female teams.
After 22 years in the making, EA Sports has finally included female football teams in their FIFA franchise, but do not allow them to compete against male teams.
Now that’s what I call an own goal.
EA Sports has defended their position by stating that FIFA regulations would not allow males to compete with females in real life, and so the same will not be allowed in FIFA16.
It’s a lame duck of an excuse.
FIFA has always had a classic team collection featuring the likes of Johan Cruyff, Diego Maradona, et al, and I don’t think that’s sticking with the realism of the game either. And why was the USA’s Eddie Johnson better than Pele and Maradona rolled into one in FIFA 15? I think the software developers were having a bit of fun with that one.
There are 12 women’s national sides to choose from, and no club sides. My 14-year old son reliably tells me that all of the women are much slower than the men, and women’s teams are not allowed to be selected for Ultimate Team play.
But it’s a start.
Fans of women’s football will hopefully be fanning the better than nothing flag, rather than the sexist EA Sports flag.
The FIFA franchise is the most successful sporting franchise in the history of eSports. First released in 1993, FIFA quickly became the first sports franchise to sell more that 100 million copies, and FIFA 15 generated around £2.3 billion in sales.
I was never a FIFA fan when I was a childish adult. My game was Pro Evolution Soccer (PES). The gameplay was far more realistic than FIFA, but the lack of a license meant lining up with the likes of Lyan Wiggs on the left wing for Manchester United used to make me want to bury myself in a crypt full of cat shit.
I could never play a game of PES without all of the names being present and correct. I was so OCD about this, that weeks after game launch I still hadn’t left the editing suite to kick a ball in anger. My sister once erased all of my data by mistake. One of the very few actions that anyone could take that would result in me wanting to kill them.
PES was the first to introduce the Master League system. It was special. FIFA recently trumped that with the creation of Ultimate Team, which is why most of the £2.3bn sales from FIFA 15 came out of my back pocket.
I love the video game industry, and EA Sports in particular, but they are taking the piss with Ultimate Team.
Here is a case in point.
I give my son £42 to purchase FIFA16. He immediately asks for another £30 so he can buy some packs for his Ultimate Team game. This immediately pits children against children as they jostle for a position of power by owning the greatest team. So far the game has cost £72, and we are not even passed the first week.
There is hope though.
FIFA is an eSports that can be played for money. It’s something I have told my son. If you want to create a better Ultimate Team then try and win the FIFA Interactive World Cup ($26k first prize), Gfinity Play Like a Legend Season ($14k first prize) or Gfinity Spring Masters ($10k first prize).
Long before pong turned two white lines and a dot into a billion dollar eSports industry, I was sure that FIFA would be played for financial gain, and I was also sure that it would be the most popular eSports game in the world.
It seems I was wrong.
A team called Denial won the 2015 Call of Duty World Championships. They picked up $400,000 for their victory, dwarfing the sum handed out to Abdulaziz Alshehri for his victory in that FIFA Interactive World Cup. The League of Legends World Championships also offers a $2m guaranteed prize pool each year.
So what has to change in order for FIFA to start creating the same sort of buzz as the two aforementioned eSports monsters? Digital football is a team sport played by individuals. I think it would make a huge difference if FIFA became a team sport, with each individual position being operated by an individual player.
Wouldn’t it be great to see a marketing campaign featuring Man Utd v Man City with the real life players taking over the lives of their avatars? All of the big money in eSports accumulates around the team element of the sport. Creating a team competition mode would attract more interest on gaming platforms such as Twitch and YouTube Gaming and in turn this attracts more sponsors.
One more thing.
If they do create a team format for a FIFA Interactive World Championships…make sure you allow women to compete with men.