How Has FIFA Impacted Society Since Its Release in 1993?

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Lots of video games are fads, trends that peter out in time. FIFA isn’t a title you can add to that list. As far as games go, Fédération Internationale de Football Association by EA Sports is one of the most popular releases of all time.   

The buying figures prove it beyond doubt – the FIFA franchise has sold over 270 million copies since its release in the early 90s, making it the best-selling sports video game ever. However, it isn’t only the commercial side of the game that has impacted society. The franchise has affected players, both professional and amateur, in several ways that often go unnoticed.  

Playing for the Cameras  

Footballers, or soccer stars, are usually awarded unfair generalizations. For example, they are greedy and spend all day playing video games while earning hundreds of thousands of dollars a week. Whether true or not, the fact that they spend their free time on gaming consoles is more apparent than ever because they are adapting their style of play on the pitch.  

For instance, Mats Hummels, former Germany and Dortmund central defender, told fans that people use what they learn during FIFA matches to help them on the pitch. This is best highlighted by Parma goalkeeper Marco Amelia. In 2008, after saving a penalty from Brazil legend Ronaldinho, he was quoted as saying, “It was just like playing against him on PlayStation.”  

FIFA has become more realistic, from the players’ appearance to their style of play. This allows actual pros to use it as a research tool to gain an advantage in crucial situations, such as making a match-winning save from 12 yards away.  

FIFA & eSports  

In 1993, eSports weren’t around because the technology didn’t exist but fast-forward into the 21st-century, they're the next big thing. Due to the numerous titles, there are many different events, including League of Legends and Call of Duty. Of course, soccer is the most global and commercial sport, which is why the 2019 FIFA eWorld Cup attracts around 50 million viewers, a 60% increase from 2018.  

The effect of eSports on society is hard to overstate. Firstly, the industry has developed into a billion-dollar market, creating jobs and adding to economies worldwide. The sector’s popularity is best seen through Rocket League, a fantastical sport-based video game with betting markets for outright events and competitions. There are even colleges – around 200 – that offer almost 10 million dollars in scholarships.  

Also, the eSports side of things leads to greater social interaction between physical and remote players. A survey reports that 24% of soccer gamers follow the social media account of real-life footballers, while 33% had watched a clip of them on YouTube and 5.7% had purchased merchandise.  

Brain Training  

Lastly, there is the role of video games on health. Well-being is essential to life, and research seems to suggest that games aren’t as unhealthy as they first appeared. For instance, playing FIFA can enhance a person’s problem-solving capabilities as they learn to see in three-dimensions.   

Then, there is the stress-relief side that comes with blowing off steam as a University College London study found gamers can relax after work much easier than non-gamers. As well as massive multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), this also applies to FIFA due to the interactive element of the game’s online features.  

As you can see, FIFA has made a huge impact on society since its first release. In the last 20 years, it has encouraged a billion-dollar eSports industry, helped the less active remain fit, and affected the way real-life footballers play on the field. Not bad for a video game!  

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