There is no doubt that the sport of soccer is growing in the United States. Be it from the amount of youth players participating in the sport to being able to watch more games on television here than most other countries, the sport is trending upwards and rapidly.
There are many reasons why the sport might pull you in — it could be the mesmerizing play of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, or it could be domination and exemplary attitude of the United States women’s national team as they take on the world. But there is also a large community that gets pulled into the sport because of video games. EA Sports’ ‘FIFA’ franchise is that reason for many, with “FIFA 21” releasing this week for a series that has more than 100 million players globally.
“When it comes the world of football fans or people not interested in the sport, once they engage in the game, they learn about it, they learn about the players,” EA Sports EVP and Group GM Cam Weber told CBS Sports. “I find a lot of players we talk to, I find they will find their favorite players and club through the video game and become passionate fans for the rest of their lives.”
Whether it is the standard modes like playing friendlies or doing Career Mode to the more elaborate options like Ultimate Team and Pro Clubs, the goal has always been to give something different for the hardcore fans while aiming to find simple, engaging modes for novices.
“We always try to strike some sort of balance to make sure that we continuing to improve in the core elements of the game,” Weber said. “We are also interested in attracting new players. You’ve seen us invest in different ways to play, different modes to play.”
The popularity of the game transcends professional soccer. “FIFA” is a favorite of many professional athletes while they are on the road, and Weber said even Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid met with FIFA recently, talked about the game and provided feedback.
Weber said that feedback from the athletes and fans is something they try to really use to improve, and he’s convinced they’ve done it there year.
“FIFA 21” isn’t too similar to the most recent versions, in fact it is refreshing upgrade ahead of the next generation of consoles being released in November. It has much-improved gameplay, it’s more challenging to score, defending is better and requires more strategy than past versions. The game was officially released on Friday. .
The street soccer mode, Volta, is back again and features online options this year for players to play on small pitches from South America to Asia. Weber said the main goal in serving up millions of fans and selling millions of copies is to deliver authenticity in every aspect while obviously making the game sharper and more fun
That comes as part of “FIFA 21” with a career mode that has been revamped with an interactive match simulation, where you can dive in and out of a game at any moment, a development system, new controls and more.
Moving forward, the goal is to make it even more realistic while constantly looking at how they can drive local authenticity when it comes to acquiring licenses and more.
For a complete, in-depth review of “FIFA 21,” check out our friends over at GameSpot, who gave it an 8 out of 10 here.