The biggest selling football franchise of all time has dominated the console playing market for years now. As far we can see, it shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. This begs the question: is there any competition to EA Sports FIFA?
EA Sports FIFA setting the standard
FIFA International Soccer became the first FIFA, releasing on the tail end of 1993. In the early days, fans played the game on the SEGA Mega drive/Genesis. Groundbreaking for the time, FIFA International Soccer hooked soccer fans immediately.
Since then, FIFA has appeared on all major consoles. Additionally, it also appeared on handheld devices such as the Nintendo Gameboy Advance and the PSP. Alongside the main game, EA released some spin-off games such as FIFA World Cup, UEFA Champions League (2004-2007) and FIFA Street. Again, these would prove widely popular with fans of the series.
Dominance, but not without a fight
Despite its huge popularity, there was a time where FIFA was struggling to have the same effect on players. Especially in the middle of the PS2 era of FIFA, games 05-08. Many felt the series felt clunky, slow, and far too technical for the average player. Fans felt turned off by the game, with many setting their eyes on the competitor, Pro Evolution Soccer from Konami. However, EA would weather the storm and highlight FIFA‘s strong suit: the inclusion of real-life teams and licensed stock.
Following the next generation of consoles, FIFA would once assert its domination. With the release of the PS3 and Xbox 360, fans found FIFA more responsive, more enjoyable and ultimately more fun to play. More features were introduced, most notably, Ultimate Team.
Rise of Ultimate Teams
Introduced to the franchise in FIFA 09, players were now able to create their own squads through purchasing cards and packs to challenge other players around the world. EA blew Konami out of the water with this new feature and really made use of the internet inclusion.
Each year, Ultimate Team evolved, becoming a crucial part of the game with fans wanting to play this feature more than traditional aspects such as Career Mode or Be a Pro. Fans will flock to YouTube to watch YouTubers open packs in the hope of seeing a walkout. Ultimate Team has gotten many hooked and it can be hard to see the likes of MyClub by Konami really challenging it.
Streaming success and community
As was touched on before, EA took an early advantage in making use of online services and features. Players can stream FIFA on Twitch or YouTube, they can play with heir friends as an individual player in Pro Clubs, and then there is eSports where many people are looking at new online bookmakers to see who is the favorite for the game and probably place a bet. EA and FIFA have managed to get a stronghold on the football community and it looks like nothing will make them let it go.
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