More On What Manchester City and Manchester United Have Brought To EA Sport’s FIFA Franchise Over The Years

Posted: July 24, 2018 in Arsenal, Chelsea, Football, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League, Tottenham Hotspur
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When it comes to football games, there is really only one winner: EA Sports’ FIFA series. Part of the franchise’s success has been its ability to create a strong partnership with football leagues around the world and, in particular, the Premier League.

Manchester City and Manchester United have one of the strongest rivalries in football, with each trying to outdo the other in all aspects of the sport. As both teams have been champions of English football, FIFA has capitalised on their global support to promote the game and expose it to new customers.

Both United and City featured in FIFA 95, which was the first game to use club teams. Over the course of FIFA’s history United have had two footballers feature as a cover star. Ryan Giggs for FIFA 2003, and Wayne Rooney from FIFA 06 to FIFA 12. The cover star is a reflection of the biggest players in football during that year, and Giggs and Rooney both reflected the dominant Ferguson years. City have yet to have a player grace the cover.

The Drum reported that Manchester United became official partners with EA Sports in 2016, and heavily featured in the game’s marketing that year. As such EA Sports based their newest game feature, The Journey, on the career of Marcus Rashford. The United striker was a consultant on the game and his likeness and career was used for the protagonist Alex Hunter, who players guide from park football to the international stage. The United and FIFA partnership is a three-year contract so expect to see more tie-in material in the future.

While United have had a big influence on the single-player experience, City have helped develop and evolve the FIFA Online game. This year the club announced a move into the Chinese eSports market, and now have an official team competing in China’s Online Star League.

FIFA Online is a version of the FIFA franchise that is adapted for the Asian market, and the game has become one of the top eSports in the continent. City are the first English team to enter China’s eSports market, and they have helped bring more attention to the club and the EA Sports franchise. The Sky Blues have a close relationship with competitive online gaming as they were the second Premier League team to sign an eSports player to represent them online.

The partnership with top-flight teams in eSports shows how the FIFA franchise has continued to evolve each year. Such is the game’s wide reaching appeal that it has managed to be popular in countries where football is not the number one sport.

The Guardian, in a report on the FIFA franchise, detailed how a 2014 poll found that 34% of Americans became football fans through the game. FIFA’s digital dominance has expanded to all gaming platforms, including online mobile gaming, and has inspired many football games looking to attract fans of the popular franchise to play their own titles.

The mobile-friendly sports-based games on FoxyBingo, such as Striker Goes Wild, have adapted football to fit into a non-simulation genre. This allows the online games to tap into the digital football fan base without directly competing with FIFA.

Deprived of official partnerships with teams like Manchester City and Manchester United, online games have to find unique ways to integrate the sport. With the online mobile gaming industry increasing rapidly every year, the market is huge for every type of football game. It is likely that clubs will start to partner with games that are not just football simulations in the near future to attract more fans, in the same manner United and City have with FIFA.

Both United and City have helped football expand through their global outreach. In collaboration with FIFA they have managed to attract more fans to the sport and, in return, helped EA Sports effectively compete in emerging gaming markets.

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