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EA v/s FIFA: Battle of the football sims

The last month has seen the world of football simulation spark to life with recent announcements by Gianni Infantino

Published Date – 12:45 AM, Mon – 3 April 23

EA v/s FIFA: Battle of the football sims

Hyderabad: The last month has seen the world of football simulation spark to life with recent announcements by Gianni Infantino highlighting his expectations for upcoming titles of the FIFAfranchise. Following a split from long time partner Electronic Arts, the football simulator that enjoys immense popularity among gamers and football fans alike will undergo significant changes as EA will offer its version of the game under the name “EA SPORTS FC.””

EA’s website touts the upcoming game (EA SPORTS FC) “the future of football” and expects that the “new independent platform will bring fresh opportunity – to innovate, create and evolve.” By trying to reassure fans that the change in name is not merely a rebadge but a deeper commitment, EA hopes to continue leading a genre that has become both increasingly monopolistic and stagnant.

On the other hand, while promising more updates on the franchise, Infantino expects “the new FIFA game – the FIFA 25, 26, 27 and so on – will always be the best egame for any girl or boy.”An expectation that is backed by recent leaks (as recent as last Friday) which label the development of FIFA 25 as an ambitious project that could be possibly spearheaded by a studio like 2K and could launch in December 2024.

While I strongly recommend not taking leaks at face value, it is important to understand that in today’s video game industry designing a new game/intellectual property from scratch often requires close to 4-5 years of work. And there are very few development teams that could design a gameplay experience that could go toe to toe with EA’s capabilities, competencies that have been refined over three decades.

While, one may argue that creating sport-based games is not new for someone like 2K, especially considering that they make games based on the WWE and the NBA, I don’t believe the expertise can translate as awareness of the task at hand and building something from scratch are two entirely different challenges.

Infantino’s game needs to offer a unique take on football while also giving people a reason to switch from EA’s game. EA promises EA SPORTS FC will continue to offer game modes like Ultimate Team, Manager Mode, Pro Clubs, and VOLTA Football.

Challenging a game that spread out, across so many modes is nearly impossible considering that well-done simulations are evaluated on their accuracy to recreate both the mundane and the spectacular. FIFA 25 thus, must be able to follow the rules of physics for both simple ground passes while allow for the performance of spectacular scorpion kicks and roulettes by making them seem both plausible while also successfully conveying the awe that accompanies the execution of such moves.

If that weren’t complicated enough, it needs to then consistently replicate the same outcomes billions of times across a plethora of online and offline matches, with varying latencies, and account for the uncountable ways in which players would interpret its underlying mechanics.

December 2024, just doesn’t seem enough time to get all of these things right. And yes, this is despite the possibility that Infantino might feel like “a game developer” for the next 18 months.

 

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