How EA's FIFA Games Are Changing Football
FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer are starting to change football culture
The two biggest football video games, Pro Evolution Soccer (Pro Evo) 2019 and FIFA 19, have both recently been released. Every year they generate a huge amount of excitement amongst their enormous global fanbase. Football is the world's most popular sport so it makes sense that the football video games are big business.Every year Fifa and Pro Evo get updated with the latest kits, players and clubs as well as graphical and gameplay upgrades. This helps players fully immerse themselves in the life-like feel of the game.
The likes of Ronaldo, Neymar, Hazard, Pogba and Messi appear in the games with increasing visual clarity. Even classic players such as Giggs, Cruyff and Figo are digitally re-reacted at their prime. As such, in FIFA’s Ultimate Team, players from different decades can all play on the same pitch.
The sales of EA’s FIFA and Konami’s Pro Evo rise annually. Recent findings, by market research organisation Nielson, discovered that 83% of football fans in the UK are aware of the FIFA video game.
FIFI, more than almost any other video game, has become a part of the culture it attempts to replicate. Where once FIFA tried to replicate football on TV, now TV attempts to replicate FIFA. Real, professional, footballers are given their ‘FIFA ratings’ live and asked what they think. Videos of footballers playing each other on FIFA gain millions of YouTube hits.
Perhaps most interesting is the fact that, 68% of Brits prefer to play a football video game over watching a match on TV. Of those, 32% cite a football video game being more fun than watching a whole match.
60% all participants would favour playing FIFA or Pro Evo over attending a live, stadium match. For some 36%, this was due to cost as it was cheaper play the games than to pay for tickets and transport to go to an actual match.
It found that Brits would rather play a football video game (82%) then go to a park to play football. The majority, 34%, said this was because they are better at a football in a video game than compared to real-life match. 27% claimed it was because they don’t want to go through the hassle of organising a physical match.
The main reason given for buying the latest edition of Pro Evolution Soccer 2019 or FIFA 19 was due to friends buying it (30%).
A fun fact: 78% of those surveyed claim they have never, or will never, play with the arch-rivals of the team they support. Real world rivalry, clearly, carries over into the digital world. The survey also found that 57% of respondents support, or closely follow, a second club as a result of consistently having a positive experience when playing as that team.
Looking to the future, 54% of Brits think professional FIFA or Pro Evo tournaments/competitions should be considered as a ‘real’ sport. With 31% saying they would be happy to watch a competitive FIFA or Pro Evolution Soccer event over a football match on TV.
Have football games become more interesting than the ‘real’ thing? Is FIFA the purest form of football, without all the antics in the real game? Should football games have their own leagues and tournaments?
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