FIFA is EA’s most popular game. In fact, they are the world’s most popular game. Capitalizing on the worldwide popularity of soccer and their domination of the sports gaming industry, EA have turned their FIFA franchise into a money making machine. With a player base of over 40 million people, FIFA looked as though it was too big to fail.
That success has been hampered, however. With community outrage over the current state of the game and a mass migration to other games and competitors such as PES, EA’s leading franchise looks to be in trouble. Today, I’ll take a look at the problems with FIFA and what EA can do to fix them.
While FIFA is certainly the most popular sports game in the world, it is by no means the best. Players have been complaining about the poor quality of the game for quite some time now, and EA has failed to address their concerns.
Graphics have improved, new engines have been introduced to make the game feel more realistic, but the gameplay as a whole – the crux upon which a game is built – is the same. Passes don’t go where players are aiming, defense is incredibly hard to control, in-game players are prone to making unconceivable mistakes, and the accuracy of shots seems to be entirely random – the exact same shot either flying into the net or sailing ten yards above the bar.
Skill almost doesn’t matter anymore; a veteran player can very easily lose to a complete newcomer on account of a few lucky deflections or some faulty in-game mechanics. FIFA was built on being the best sports game in the world, but it no longer deserves that title, and it seems like EA has forgotten how to make a good game.
Simply put, FIFA has become boring. As with most of EA’s games, FIFA is repackaged every year, adding a couple of new features and replacing the date on the front cover of the game. While the addition of modes such as Squad Battles and Division Rivals have added some excitement, the gameplay has remained almost identical, and it looks as though EA doesn’t really know where to go next with the game.
This repetition has been noted by the community. But perhaps more startling is the way in which EA profit from it. Players are forced to buy the newest version of FIFA if they wish to play online – by far the biggest appeal of the game – and with few changes at all to the gameplay, EA is just recycling their games in search of money.
While games like Fortnite offer weekly updates and plenty of new features, EA are stuck in the past. A new version of FIFA is no longer an upgrade; rather, it is a marketing ploy, offering little value to players while filling up EA’s pockets.
While all companies look to profit off their games, EA pushes this to the extreme. According to estimates, FIFA grosses around a billion dollars a year for the gaming developer, making it the highest grossing video game in the world. While most games get their money from physical sales, FIFA takes a different approach, relying heavily on in-game purchases and currency.
In FIFA, players are given the option to purchase FIFA points, an in-game currency that allows players to open packs and strengthen their Ultimate Team. Avid players are known to spend tens of thousands of dollars on these packs, looking to create a better team and rise in the ranks.
In many ways, this fosters an unhealthy system; to truly succeed, you need to be willing to spend money. FIFA has become a pay-to-win game. Without a good team, it’s incredibly difficult to win, and this means that wealth can often trump skill, something that should be true in no video game.
EA exploits their player base. They focus solely on Ultimate Team, neglecting their other game modes, and a yearly release means that this process occurs on an annual basis – making thousand-dollar investments almost worthless in the blink of an eye.
The most worrying complaint regarding FIFA is not related to the game itself but rather to the company which makes it. EA have been under fire as of late for failing to react and work together with the community, and FIFA is no different.
For years, players have urged EA to add features outside of Ultimate Team, looking out for players who prefer the game’s other modes – Pro Clubs, Career Mode, The Journey – to Ultimate Team. But as of yet, EA have failed to notice, or even worse, completely ignored the issue.
Complaints about scripting – a conscious bias implemented within the game – have plagued FIFA, but EA have yet to provide any clear answer, simply deflecting the question. Considering FIFA is the world’s biggest video game, this lack of transparency is more than concerning; players deserve the right to know how the game operates.
EA are ignoring their customer’s concerns, and the community’s voice has been silenced. This is unacceptable, and if EA don’t fix it fast, their player base will only get angrier.
While FIFA has never had a true competitor, many players are opting to switch over to PES – Konami’s version of the beautiful game. But even more, concerning for EA is the amount of people who have chosen to forego the soccer world completely, focusing their attention on more popular games like Fortnite and Overwatch.
FIFA is not the powerhouse it once was. It isn’t attracting the same following among non-soccer fans, and it’s ostracizing many of those who love soccer as well. It seems almost as though EA have become complacent with their game, and their competitors are taking note – looking to gain ground and eventually usurp FIFA as the dominant sporting franchise.
Firstly, EA need to open up about their game. If they want their community to trust them, they can’t afford to keep secrets. When players are throwing thousands of dollars at a game, they deserve to know what their money is getting them.
The mechanics behind pack-opening and the issue of scripting are problems that could easily be resolved. EA need to tell their players the truth; they can’t keep hiding behind walls of red tape and hope that their players don’t notice.
It’s about time that FIFA’s players get a game that EA is truly proud of. For far too long, EA have been releasing games that feel rushed – switching a couple of features but making no notable changes. In a world full of technological innovation and constant improvement, EA are a dinosaur. They are antiquated, an old developer that has failed to prove their worth.
In order to keep up with the rest of the market, EA need to focus on creating good games; they need to focus on their gameplay, making valuable additions and changes instead of looking at the graphics and aesthetic aspects of the game.
FIFA might be the world’s biggest sporting title, but if EA want to keep it that way, they need to earn it; an avid fan base will only last so long if the game itself doesn’t live up to standards.
But after everything, EA needs to listen to the community. A good game is based upon its connection with the players; no matter how dominant EA’s monopoly, the player base will only continue to falter if EA don’t begin to listen.
They need to stop focusing on the financials and start focusing on the players who bring in the cash. They need to start taking advice instead of living in an echo chamber. They need to build their social media presence, whether on Twitter, Facebook, or Reddit. They need to take the time to build the game that their players are looking for.
If EA wants FIFA to remain strong for decades to come, they need to go back to the basics and return to what made FIFA great in the first place – creating a game which allowed soccer fans all over the world to connect, interact, play, and have some fun.
Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.