The EA Sports FIFA soccer gaming franchise is one of the biggest sellers in the gaming industry. Every year a new edition of the game is released to keep up-to-date with the latest teams and to refine its gameplay. In a previous article, Baltimore Gamer looked at the Madden franchise, also made by EA sports, and the reasons why it is a huge cash cow. In this article we look at the success of FIFA, how it came to dominate the soccer genre in the UK, and how its fan base is expanding in the USA.
The first FIFA game titled FIFA International Soccer (or FIFA94) was released in 1993 to coincide with the 1994 World Cup the following year. The game was the first soccer video game to show an isometric view of the pitch rather than a top down view. Since its inception a new version of the game has been released every year upgrading the gameplay, graphics and teams to adapt with the changing gaming platforms and real life changes to soccer teams.
London newspaper the Metro reports that the latest edition FIFA 17 has broken a sales record to become the fastest selling FIFA game from the franchise. The popular game has always been a big seller in the UK but Video Gamer puts this record breaking performance down to PlayStation 4 price cuts and “aggressive retailer pricing of FIFA 17 Xbox One console bundles.”
To say that FIFA has no competition would be unfair, yet FIFA 17 sold 40 times more copies than its competition Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) 17, according to Real Game Media. The site states that the biggest reason for this huge gap in sales is due to the FIFA franchise having the official licenses for all the soccer teams. PES is famous for being creative with the team names. as they don’t have the rights to use the official names. Goal.com made a list of the English Premiership League team names on PES 17 and only two, Arsenal and Liverpool, were accurate. Manchester United and Manchester City are called Man Red and Man Blue while Chelsea is known as London FC. FIFA 17 is always as accurate as possible, and if Steven Gerrard ends up moving to Celtic from LA Galaxy as speculated by Betfair who preview soccer matches across the globe then you can be sure that he will be in the Celtic team in FIFA 18.
The accessibility of the FIFA franchise has increased FIFA’s presence in the USA where soccer is not as widely followed, according to the Huffington Post. The publication states that the rise in popularity of the game has coincided with the interest in pro soccer. They report that the USA Vs. Portugal match in the 2014 World Cup was the most viewed soccer match in USA history with over 25 million viewers. This interest represents a huge market that EA Sports are hoping will bring the sales of the game closer to that of the Madden franchise in the coming years.